Thunder Takes to the Skies

Posted on Wednesday, May 14th, 2014 at 7:53 pm
Hello again, to Mrs. Crosby, and to the coolest first graders in all of Colorado!  
It’s Thunder the Teaching Assistant, back with another report about a fun intern experience I had with Tyler Willard’s Dad this past week.
Tyler’s Dad is a pilot for the largest airline in the world, United Airlines.  He is currently assigned to fly a big airplane called the Airbus A-320.  This airplane seats 150 passengers, and flies to most big airports in the United States, and to other destinations as far south as South and Central America, and as far north as Alaska!  I found out a lot of cool things about being a pilot, and I got to see and do some neat things too!
Thunder with the flight crew.

Thunder with the flight crew.


Mr. Willard sits in the cockpit during the flight.  The cockpit, also known as the flight deck, is at the front end of the plane.  There are two pilots.  A Captain, and a First Officer.  They share their flying and non-flying duties, alternating every other flight.  I found out some interesting things when I was able to sit with them before and during the flight.


Prior to their flight, they plan the routing, check weather reports, make decisions about mechanical issues and fuel loading, and then head to the gate on the concourse where the airplane is

Thunder helps the ground crew.

Thunder helps the ground crew.

parked.  Before they leave to go fly, one of the pilots goes out and inspects the plane.  This is called a pre-flight inspection to ensure there is nothing damaged or leaking that might affect the safety of all the passengers.  I took some pictures of me sitting on the Tug, which pushes the airplane back from the gate.  I also helped the ramp people load some mail and luggage, and helped Tyler’s Dad inspect the all the plane’s parts.  Those engines sure are big!  While all the people were getting on the plane, I watched the pilots set up all the computers and controls, and then it was time to go!


My trip started on Friday night very late, and lasted 4 days.  We visited cities in Florida like Orlando, where Disney World is, and Mickey Mouse lives.  We also got to visit the Atlantic Ocean in Ft. Lauderdale, which had a really nice beach.  Then we got to see Chicago which is up north in Illinois, and then finally back to Denver.  Airplanes fly at all hours of the day and night, and our first flight left Denver at Midnight, after all of you were already asleep.  We flew all the way to New York City, and landed at 5:30 in the morning.  The sun wasn’t even up yet!  I was so sleepy when we landed.  We flew at 38,000 feet above the ground.  That is more than 7 miles up in the sky.  We flew really fast, sometimes going more than 600 miles per hour.  That is the same as traveling 1 mile, every 6 seconds!  Some other cool things I learned about his plane…When they take off, they sometimes weigh almost 170,000 pounds, and carry as much as 43,000 pounds of gas!

Thunder takes a well-deserved break.

Thunder takes a well-deserved break.

I learned that pilots and airplanes make it much easier for all of us to get to almost anywhere we want to go.  Aviation, which involves all types of aircraft, also provides other critical services for our community in so many ways.  Can any of you give me some examples of different kinds of jobs pilots do?

Remember, aviation does not include only airline jets, but also propeller planes and helicopters.  Aircraftcan help us get to far away places like England and China, or to closer places like Aspen or Vail a lot faster than driving or taking a boat.  Pilots and their aircraft perform all sorts of other duties, too.  Police can use aviation to arrest bad guys by flying above them when they try to get away.  Doctors can use aviation to carry a hurt person to the hospital really fast, and we can even use aviation to help us fight fires or monitor traffic jams!  Of course, we cannot forget the brave pilots in our military, who protect us from bad people and keep our country safe.
After spending four days flying around with Tyler’s Dad, I learned a lot of things about being a pilot and what they do.  It is a very rewarding job, because pilots help bring our big world much closer together, so everyone can visit those people and family members they want to see.  Fire fighters use pilots, as do hospitals, police departments, the post office, and our military.  I learned that boys and girls can be pilots.  I was also reminded by the pilots I met how important it is for you kids to always do your best in school.
Thanks for this opportunity to tell you a little about being a pilot.  I hope you enjoyed reading my research report.

Thunder gets the best view ever!

Thunder gets the best view ever!

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