MOBILE, Ala (WKRG) — For my first episode of Destination Gulf Coast, we figured that we would take on a place that is out of this world, so we decided to check out Flight Works Alabama, in Mobile.
Flight Works Alabama is a nonprofit innovative education center, providing opportunities for people of all ages to master 21st-century work skills that impact education and workforce development for the Gulf Coast. Now, that sounds really important and all, but I was most excited about all the cool things they had to do there to keep someone like me occupied for hours.
Sara LeCroy was tasked with showing me around to all the really cool things that they have to offer at Flight Works Alabama, and I couldn’t have been any more excited to get started. First, we were given a tour of the facility where I was able to see the classrooms that house a 3-D printing machine, a woodworking shop, and a state-of-the-art learning center where STEM is the focus of all activities.
After the tour was over, it was time to test out all the hands-on activities! The first thing that I was able to try out was the Cockpit Simulator, where I pulled off my best Top Gun impersonation in the fighter jet simulation. The realism was astounding as I was able to feel every turn, climb, and descent in my pursuit of “bandits”. For the record, out of the 8 fighter jets that I was in hot pursuit of, I was only able to catch one of them. Let me tell you, this flight simulator is a lot harder than it looks, but I definitely think it’s worth a try, especially for anyone who has ever imagined themselves in the cockpit of a fighter.
Once I was finished keeping the virtual skies safe, it was time to go to the International Space Station in their Virtual Reality Center. The realism was absolutely breathtaking as I got to look up at the stars and down on planet earth. It felt so real, I was looking around for the chance that I would see the Starship Enterprise.
Next, it was time to move on to the Drone Fly Zone, where I got the chance to fly an unmanned aerial vehicle through an outdoor obstacle course. What made the experience even better was the active airport runway right next to the drone aviary, so it made my aerial escapade feel like I was actually in control of an Airbus jet. Well, luckily for me, I was not actually in control of an Airbus jet because judging by my performances in both the Cockpit Simulator and Drone Fly Zone, let’s just say that turbulence would be the least of any of my passengers’ worries.
For my final stop of the day, I sat in a lifelike cockpit of an Airbus A320. It was kind of a childhood dream of mine to be able to sit in a real cockpit and touch all the buttons and flip all the switches, and finally, that boyhood dream was realized!
All in all, I had a great time at Flight Works Alabama, and the wild part about all the fun that I had was there were still more things to do! This is the perfect place to take yourself or your family where you can learn and have fun at the same time. If you are interested in going to Flight Works Alabama, they are located at 2000 Aerospace Dr, Mobile, AL 36615 at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley. Tickets are $13.50 for ages 10 and up, $9 for ages 4 through 9, and kids 3 and younger get to go for free! This is a great, inexpensive way to spend the day with your family and I highly recommend giving Flight Works Alabama a try. They also offer workshops for kids and teens that focus on STEM. For more information go to www.FlightWorksAlabama.com