Apollo astronaut to promote STEM education at Royal Int’l Air Tattoo

Apollo astronaut to promote STEM education at Royal Int’l Air Tattoo

Apollo 15 Command Module Pilot Al Worden to visit local schools on behalf of Kallman Worldwide with support from General Atomics Aeronautical, Gulfstream, Lockheed Martin, and the RAF Charitable Trust.


Apollo 15 Command Module Pilot, Col. Al Worden, USAF-Ret., will land in the Fairford, UK community on July 12, 2018, as an advocate for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. His visit is in conjunction with the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT), which he will be attending for the first time on July 13 and 14, 2018.

During presentations to Kemble Primary School, Fairford Primary School, and the Ogden Trust, Worden hopes to excite and encourage students to pursue engineering careers. His program will feature highlights of his 1971 mission to the moon, followed by question-and-answer sessions with students and teachers. His visit with the Ogden Trust will include parents with the aim of raising science capital within the local community.

“The Fairford and Gloucestershire communities know well that STEM subjects are the fundamental tools of the trade for future exploration on Earth and in space, in any field or profession,” Worden says. “Of course, with RAF Fairford and RIAT in their backyard, students here have the unique experience of seeing first-hand every day how STEM translates from their classrooms into careers in flight.”

Worden’s tour is being produced by Kallman Worldwide Inc., organizer of the USA Partnership Pavilion at the Farnborough Airshow since 1996, with the support of General Atomics Aeronautical, Gulfstream, Lockheed Martin, and the RAF Charitable Trust.

“We’re excited to introduce Col. Worden to Fairford and RIAT to share his experiences with students, teachers, families, and flight enthusiasts of all ages,” said Kallman Worldwide President, CEO and former United States Air Force F-15 pilot, Tom Kallman. “At the core of our tradeshow company, we’re fans, too, and especially in this 100th year of the Royal Air Force, this corner of the United Kingdom is a ‘bucket-list’ destination for everyone who loves aviation.”

STEM education is an important focus of the RIAT experience for children and families, says Sandra Keen, coordinator of the event’s Techno Zone hands-on learning attraction and Junior Engineering Challenge. Col. Worden will serve as a guest judge of Challenge finals at RIAT on July 13. He will also make scheduled appearances in the Techno Zone during the show.

"In order to pursue engineering careers in aviation or any profession, children need to be actively interested in the sciences before they make their GCSE choices,” Keen says. “The Techno Zone is designed to fuel their passion and spark their imagination. We are so proud to have Col. Worden with us this year to represent the ultimate achievements of a career that starts with STEM."

Worden says he is likewise proud to make the connection for future explorers, especially with a manned mission to Mars on the horizon, and multiple public- and private-sector stakeholders around the world competing for the prize.

“As an international community of explorers, we are going to Mars together,” Worden says. “The big question is: Are there enough of us to get the job done? Are we exciting enough young people to become not only aerospace engineers, but also doctors, chemists, architects, agronomists, and all of the other professions we’re going to need to live on Mars?”

The answer, he admits, is, “Not yet. When you consider the decades of rigor and discipline it’s going to take to successfully put people from Earth on Mars, and that getting to Mars is just one of the countless engineering challenges we face on our own planet today, we need to pick up the pace,” Worden adds. “The pipeline for STEM talent can handle a lot more volume!”

The Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) is the world’s largest military airshow and is staged annually at RAF Fairford in support of the RAF Charitable Trust.

The Techno Zone offers hands-on activities and entertainment designed to stimulate and inspire young minds by bringing the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum to life.

RIAT is part of international celebrations marking the Royal Air Force centenary (RAF100). Fast jets, transports, surveillance, and training aircraft will be joined by warbirds from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight as the airshow showcases the Royal Air Force’s past, present, and future.

More than 300 aircraft are due to take part in the Air Tattoo, including the RAF Red Arrows aerobatic display team. Each of RIAT’s three days will feature more than seven hours of flying.