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News & Events

NEWS & EVENTS

November 28, 2016: C-182T Delivered to Wings

IMG 2435

Wings CEO Greg Anderson, Teacher Flight Program Manager Hetty Carlson, Wings Board Chair Charlie Johnson and Wings Chief Pilot Chad Graves took delivery of a new C-182-T from Textron Aviation for use in Wings education programs at its new Flight Annex, particularly the Teacher Flight outreach initiative.  The generous lease of this beautiful aircraft is part of a growing partnership between Wings Over the Rockies and Textron Aviation, general aviation's most prominant leaders.  The Teacher Flight Program, supported by the Emil Bueller Trust, has already reached over 400 schools along the Front Range, with Teachers flying in Wing's 450 Stearman biplane.  The addition of a 182T will allow the program to expand with a closed cabin aircraft that can fly teachers yearround.  Teachers become envoys to their schools with aerospace education resources provided by Wings.  Textron Aviation's support will allow the program to reach toward its goal of one teacher per school (1600) in the Front Range by 2020. 

September 1, 2016: Honorary Chair Harrison Ford and Textron Aviation CEO Scott Ernest Visit Exploration of Flight

Textron group on tower

Following a meeting in Oshkosh, Wingspan Honorary Chairs Harrison Ford and Governor John Hickenlooper helped Wings host Textron Aviation CEO Scott Ernest for a site tour and meeting to forge a partnership between Wings and one of aviation's leading aircraft companies.  Scott Ernest was impressed with our plans and pledged support for Wings' plans.  With aircraft brands like Cessna, Beechcraft, Hawker and Bell Helicopters, Textron Aviation's leadership support says a lot about Exploration of Flight as a focal point to inspire and educate a new generation of aviators.  

In the adjacent photo, Textron Aviation CEO Scott Ernest (far left) and Wingspan Honorary Co-Chair Harrison Ford (third from left) are joined on the temporary tower on the Exploration of Flight site by Wings CEO Greg Anderson and Board members Charlie Johnson and Jeff Puckett. 

Summer-Fall, 2016: Young Eagles & Teacher Flight Rallies

IMG 2279

Starting in May, the Flight Annex and Wings Ramp were the scene of monthly Young Eagles and Teacher Flight rallies.  Scores of Young Eagles and dozens of educators received personal flight experiences from incredible volunteers who shared their love of aviation.  It was hard to know who had more fun, the volunteers or participants, but one thing is for sure; the flights were a life-changing experience for many of the participants.  In one rally, two former astronauts who had six flights in space between them - Dr. Ron Sega and Steve Lindsey - came to share their memories of special teachers with assembled educators.  They each said these special teachers launched them toward careers with NASA!

 

May 5, 2016: Exploration of Flight Preps for Blue Star Weekend

Individuals in photo from left: Jeppesen CEO Mark Van Tine, Wings Board Chair Charlie Johnson, Centennial Airport Board Chair Robert Doubek, Wings President and CEO Gregory Anderson, B17 Aircraft Commander Pilot Newt Moy, P51 Fighter Ace David Wilhelm, Ball Turret Gunner Len Estrin.

 

Officials from Wings Over the Rockies, Jeppesen and Centennial Airport joined veterans, including WWII fighter ace David Wilhelm to open the Exploration of Flight site for four days of heritage and education activities on the Flight Ramp.  Twenty media were present to record the occasion.  A B-17, P-51, T-6 and Stearman were among highlights celebrating the occasion on a beautiful Colorado morning.  Volunteers worked feverishly to ready the site for the its first major operational weekend.  Activities planned for the weekend included B-17 flights and ground tours, Young Eagles flights, veterans’ tributes, simulators, a pedal plane airport and military vehicles and reenactors.  The weekend will culminate with a “Blue Star Mothers Day Brunch on Sunday, honoring mothers of veterans. 

“Aluminum Overcast” to Celebrate New Site

JPEG Aluminum OvercastWings announced that the Exploration of Flight site will host the EAA B-17 “Aluminum Overcast” during the week of October 14-21.  The first major event on the new site will see the return of the legendary Flying Fortress, long a favorite of hundreds of Wings volunteers and thousands of visitors.  Dates and details will be announced.

 

June 2015: Signature Teacher Flight Program Funded through 2020

IMG 0415Exploration of Flight’s signature education outreach initiative, the Teacher Flight Program, was funded with a $750,000 grant to fly approximately 1300 teachers in schools along Colorado’s Front Range by 2020.  The Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust approved the grant, which sustains an earlier $250,000 grant that launched the program to provide the first 300 teacher flights in 2012-14.  With Eileen Collins as Honorary Chair, this award-winning initiative will grow from Exploration of Flight and provide training and STEM resources through teacher liaisons to access up to 84% of Colorado’s K-12 student population.  A video is available at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLgKhz5THCE

 

May 2015: Wings Aerospace Academy Announced!

Culminating years of research and consultation with educators and community groups, launch of the Wings Aerospace Academy charter program was approved for Fall 2015 by the Wings Board of Directors.  In conjunction with the certified, multi-district charter school of Elevate Academy, the WAA will incorporate online education and several proven designs for STEM-based learning within an aerospace context.  Beginning in classrooms and aerospace facilities at Lowry with 6th, 7th and 8th graders in the Fall, the program will grow with development of Exploration of Flight as a learning center into a middle-high school program.  Wings’ new COO Mark Hyatt led innovative charter programs at the local, state and national level, and Director of Education Rob Stannard brings aerospace engineering and superintendent experiences to this unique development.  Enrollments are being accepted through the summer.  Information is available at www.WingsAerospaceAcademy.org.

February 2015: Wember Construction Takes Project Lead

Wings Over the Rockies selected Paul Wember of Wember Construction to continue development as Project Manager of Exploration of Flight.  Taking over from the good work of Alec Garbini of CM2, Paul brings great experience with a variety of nonprofit projects, including schools, libraries and the Denver Childrens Museum.  His team includes Iron Mike Construction and D2C Architects, who have extensive military and airport experience.

December 1, 2014


Steering Committee Ground Breaking 12.1.14On December 1, 2014, the Wingspan Steering Committee and Wings’ Board of Directors joined airport officials and distinguished guests for a ground breaking ceremony for the new Exploration of Flight education and technology center.  Guest speakers included a teacher participant of the Teacher Flight Program and a student benefiting from our expanding education programs.  The Steering Committee came with their “Launch a Life” shovels in hand and enthusiastically cast their shovels into the cold, hard ground marking the occasion.  Due to historic cold temperatures, grading has been postponed to Spring 2015.

Ground was turned at the entrance to the new center, and guests imagined entering the one-of-a-kind facility.  They also climbed the temporary tower to enjoy the view.  Marking the exact 20th anniversary of Wings Over the Rockies, the ceremony symbolized Wings’ commitment to the future.  First phase  construction of the Blue Sky Aviation Gallery, aircraft ramp, parking lot and public access road will take place from April to August.  With additional fundraising, the 15-acre site is designed to eventually include a full size, expandable facility as well as an aerospace charter school.

November 15, 2014

At its 12th annual Spreading Wings Gala, Wings Over the Rockies announced it would break ground at its Exploration of Flight site on December 1st, the 20th anniversary of Colorado’s Official Air & Space Museum.  The groundbreaking ceremony will celebrate approval of plans by Centennial Airport and securing of financing for phased construction, backed by $9 million in pledged funds.  Mother Nature brought historic low temperatures sustained over a two week period, pushing grading plans to early 2015.  Over 730 guests attending the Spreading Wings Gala received a briefing on the Exploration of Flight education and technology center at Centennial.  Honoree, Sean D. Tucker, also participated in hangar flying with dozens of young people at Denver JetCenter East, and Wings’ trustee Jeff Puckett provided low level helicopter flights.

October 7, 2014

The Centennial Airport Board of Directors approved a phased construction plan for Exploration of Flight, beginning with a hangar that will become the center’s largest feature, the 15,000 sf Blue Sky Aviation Gallery and a 93,000 sf aircraft ramp.  Also to be developed will be Isbill Road through the InterPort development, providing public access, and a new taxilane Sierra on the south side of Taxiway Delta.  With $9 million raised in the Wingspan Capital Campaign, phased construction will allow education programs and flight operations to take place at the Exploration of Flight site.  Pending continued fundraising progress and financing, construction will commence in early 2015. 

September 10, 2014

Adding to its expanding aerospace education mission, Wings Over the Rockies launched a new Aerospace Exploring Post at Centennial Airport.  Twenty-two high school students attended an orientation meeting at the Centennial Airport tower, hosted by Wings staff and adult volunteers.  As part of the Boy Scouts of America’s new Learning for Life program, Wings’ sponsorship of the career exploration program will provide high school students monthly exposure careers in aerospace.  Carl Corns, Director of Operations at One Flight International, is the Post Leader.  Youth leaders include Patrick Ivers, Nathan Graham and William McCormick.  Future meetings were planned at Aspen Flying Club, Wings Over the Rockies, ULA, United Flight Training Center and the Air Force Academy.  More  information will be made available on the Wings website, www.WingsMuseum.org.

June 26, 2014

Wings Over the Rockies hosted a send-off party for Denver’s Amelia Earhart enroute to completing the original Amelia’s incomplete flight in 1937.  Young people thronged around her at the new exhibit at Lowry.  Amelia is on the Wings Board and has served for several years as Wings’ Ambassador to Youth.  Like the visiting B-17, these are the kinds of flight and education activities that will occur all the time at Exploration of Flight.  Students from Wings’ Teacher Flight Program, based at Centennial, wrote notes of encouragement which Wings put into a facsimile airmail bag to accompany her around the world.

June 18 - 22, 2014

Wings Over the Rockies hosted the EAA B-17 Flying Fortress at Signature Flight Support near the future Exploration of Flight site.  Nicknamed the “Aluminum Overcast,” the aircraft is perhaps the finest flying B-17 in the world, criss-crossing the country every year to bring the history of World War II aviation back to life.  Wings has hosted the aircraft since 2004, turning our volunteers and members to honor the “Greatest Generation” with flights, veterans’ activities, military vehicles and a great hangar dance.  This year two P-51 Mustangs and two T-6’s joined the festivities, and EAA named Denver the top tour site in the country for its tour.  In addition, Wings flew teachers is in its restored 1942 450 Stearman, and Wings and Jeppesen volunteers joined EAA pilots in flying 108 Young Eagles in personal aircraft.  The three young men in the photo, aged 15, 17 and 18, represent the next “Great Generation” as products of Wings’ education programs.  All are also Young Eagles and have begun pilot training.  They will be leaders in Wings’ new Aerospace Explorer Post beginning this summer at Centennial Airport.  Carl Corns, right, is the adult Post leader.

April 2014

William McCormick, a longtime fan of Wings, shares how he was motivated to fly by visiting Wings as a child with his parents. 

https://vimeo.com/90359417

March 4 - 5, 2014, Harrison Ford Visits Denver in Support of Wingspan

Harrison Ford, Honorary Co-Chair of the Wingspan Campaign, recently visited Denver. He accompanied prospects on site visits and shared his enthusiasm about aviation.  He expressed his love of flying and the need for pilots in the future.  Wingspan 100 members, the Board of Directors, Wingspan Steering Committee and other special guests were also invited to a luncheon at Lowry with Harrison that included dedication of the Harrison Ford Welcome Theater.  Exploration of Flight will be an amazing facility to inspire children and adults alike and keep our aviation goals soaring!

Teacher Flight Program featured in Sport Aviation Magazine

Click on the link below to read the wonderful article in the March 2014 issue of Sport Aviation magazine by Lane Wallace about the Teacher Flight Program:
http://www.sportaviationonline.org/sportaviation/march_2014/?pg=24&pm=2&u1=friend#pg24

Follow the link below for more information about the Teacher Flight Program, based at Centennial Airport!
http://www.wingsteacherflight.org/

January 2014

We have put a video on YouTube that conveys the purpose and power of flight to inspire and educate teachers as a means to (eventually) reach up to 84% of K-12 students in Colorado. The following link was unveiled recently at our Teacher Flight Program celebration with Honorary Chair Eileen Collins. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLgKhz5THCE

November 16, 2013

Wings' annual Spreading Wings Gala, honored Astronaut Buzz Aldrin and astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson.  Congressman Mike Coffman, in whose district Exploration of Flight will be located, read a Congressional Statement of Support for the aerospace industry and what it means for our economy and way of life in Colorado.  We were joined by over 650 aerospace executives and enthusiasts whose support for Wings’ expanding mission at Lowry sets the stage for a new era as a two site institution.

November 6, 2013

We celebrated a program that will be a signature education outreach initiative from Exploration of Flight.  We honored 170 teachers who have flown in the Spreading Wings Teacher Flight Program to date from temporary facilities at Centennial.  By 2020, we will reach one teacher in each Colorado Front Range school (1,558!).  We were joined by the Program's Honorary Chair, Astronaut Eileen Collins, Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia and Deputy Commissioner of Education Keith Owen.  Teachers and their guests enjoyed inspiring words from Collins, speaking of her time in the classroom as a teacher and aboard the Space Shuttle as the first female Shuttle Commander.  Teachers also received resource guides and curriculum materials to use in their schools.

September 2013

CH2M HILL has committed pro bono civil engineering work to Wings Over the Rockies for our Centennial Site. Their team has extensive airport experience at Centennial and will be instrumental in site development. Professional firms completed topographical surveys and soil tests on the site in early September.  Geo-tech reports and surveys were provided to CH2M HILL for their civil engineering recommendations.

June 4-9, 2013

Here are a few highlights from B-17 Week:

  • Thousands of area guests through the week appreciate our aviation heritage, and Colorado’s continuing leadership through our celebration of the 90th anniversary of the Colorado National Guard.  We had a model of Exploration of Flight for visitors to enjoy.
  • The Hangar Dance on Saturday was our best ever.  Some 400 guests enjoyed food, music, dancing and gorgeous airplanes, including the Aluminum Overcast.  A photo is attached.  We also inducted our newest members of the Wingspan 100:  Robb and Masako James; Bret, Tyler and Cathy Packard; and Kathy and August Geise.
  • With the help of volunteers from the Jeppesen Flying Club and EAA Chapter 301, we flew 95 Young Eagles through the week.
  • We also flew 12 Spreading Wings Teachers in our Stearman

April 18, 2013

On April 18th,  XJet hosted over 175 guests for a Wingspan Liftoff Celebration.  Astronaut Eileen Collins (Honorary Chair of the Spreading Wings Teacher Flight Program) keynoted the reception, speaking of her experience as a teacher, pilot and astronaut during an interview with John Barry, Wings Board Member.  The Spreading Wings Teacher Flight Program promotes aviation to area teachers by giving them a flight experience in a 1942 Boeing Stearman and providing them with educational resources and curriculum to use in the classroom to connect aviation and space to other subjects (see videos by Eileen and reacher Shelley Jacobs elsewhere on this website).  Amelia Earhart of 9News (and Wings Board member) served as MC for the program.  In addition, Greg Anderson, President and CEO of Wings, announced a new, "Climb" phase of the Wingspan Capital Campaign.  Our goal is to find 100 high level donors who will help us reach our $21 million goal to build Exploration of Flight.  Nineteen charter members of the "Wingspan 100" were recognized for their leadership investment, and two new members resulted from the event!

January 25, 2013

Wings receives confirmation of a $250,000 grant to sponsor the launch of the Spreading Wings Teacher Flight Program from the Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust. This signature outreach initiative, based from Centennial facilities, will fly one teacher in each school along Colorado’s Front Range by 2020, eventually reaching up to 84% of Colorado’s K-12 population with award-winning aerospace education programs. Earlier in the week the Colorado Division of Aeronautics Board of Directors confirmed an additional grant of $336,000 to continue growth of educational outreach programs, including the Wings Aerospace Science Program (WASP), which has trained teachers in nearly 60 districts and charter schools in Colorado.

January 18, 2013

Wings President & CEO Greg Anderson received the Harrison Ford Aviation Legacy Award at the 2013 Living Legends of Aviation banquet at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles. The award honored Anderson’s leadership with the development of the EAA Aviation Center in Oshkosh, WI and the EAA Young Eagles Program as EAA Executive Vice President from 1983 to 2004. It also recognized work with Wings Over the Rockies and the Exploration of Flight facility and Spreading Wings education programs. Over 800 aerospace executives and enthusiasts learned of Wings during the program.

December 31, 2012

The Wingspan Campaign closes 2012 at the one-third point toward its $19 million goal. Members of the Wingspan Steering Committee and Board of Directors look forward to continuing fundraising progress in 2013.

November 5, 2012

Lucile Wise, a veteran of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) in World War II takes a flight in Wings’ 1942 450 Stearman biplane trainer from Wings’ temporary hangar at Centennial Airport. Flown by Wings Chief Pilot Chad Graves, the flight turns the clock back for Ms. Wise as an example of Wings’ active flying heritage at Centennial. Featured in a front page Denver Post feature, Ms Wise says she “had a blast.”

August 3, 2012

Wings Over the Rockies closes on 14.5 acres of prime real estate with the Sunborne Company at the east end of Centennial Airport’s InterPort development beside Runway 10/28. Seven years of planning and development with airport officials, museum planners, educators, architects, marketing experts and fundraising consultants achieve a new milestone as Wings puts its “stake in the ground” at one of America’s best and busiest general aviation airports.

news and events

June 11, 2012

“Last Man on the Moon” Astronaut Gene Cernan joins 125 honored guests to keynote the “Wingspan Launch Celebration” at Signature Flight Support. Wingspan leadership unveil plans and a model of the Exploration of Flight facility with its unprecedented promise to “launch lives” of discovery and achievement.