The first Aviation Education program for children was offered at Alexandria Field airport in the summer of 2001.Linda Fritsche Castner part-owner and operator of the field was contacted by a mother who was looking for a summer program for her son who very much wanted to become a professional pilot.The "Cleared for Take-off" aviation education program was born.
Each year since the first camp the number of campers has grown.In 2003 there were enough students to offer two sessions with a maximum of 12 per session.Little advertising was done, most campers came from word-of-mouth through past campers or children of pilots on the field.Today Ms. Castner promotes the program by giving lectures at local schools on several aviation based topics: 100 Years of Flight, The Aerodynamics of Leadership, and Women, Self-confidence and Leadership: Looking through a new lens (based on research she has done on why more women don't learn to fly).
At Alexandria Field (N85) the emphasis has always been on growing new pilots.Since William Fritsche carved the first runway out of a cornfield in 1944, Alexandria Field has focused on teaching people to fly for both career opportunities and the freedom of personal flying.
Bill's daughter, Linda Fritsche Castner manages the airport today with her husband Corky and brother Bill and is the President of Up, Up, And Away In Hunterdon, Inc. the corporation which developed the "Cleared for Take-off" camp curriculum.
Linda - Camp Director
Ms. Castner is a licensed Private Pilot, and Advanced Ground Instructor (AGI), and a second-generation airport owner/operator.She received her formal education as a teacher, with a B.S. in Health and Physical Education from the University of Bridgeport, and a Master's Degree in Physical Education from SmithCollege.While Linda is the primary camp instructor she utilizes Certified Flight Instructors (CFI) from N85's flight school and several highly motivated aircraft owners who hangar their planes on the field for added expertise with hands-on activities.
While the overall purpose of the Cleared for Take-off program is in providing participants with opportunities to explore the wide variety of content required to become a pilot; it is also interested in providing a personal growth experience.Activities are structured to encourage the development of confidence, leadership, and the ability to contribute to a group learning experience.
Although the day camp program is designed for maximum learning to take place there is a definite emphasis placed on each participant having FUN.As one student put it, "This place is like taking the 'behind the scene tour' at Sea World.We are at an airport and we get to see everything right there."
Snack Break (we break for snacks supplied by parents)
Aviation Education Activities
CampEnds / Optional Flight Lessons Begin
Blake enjoys a flight lesson at age 10.
Blake gets her Private Pilot License at age 17.
Brian gets his license at age 17.
Brian began as a camper at age 12.
Blair starts at age 14.
Alex and Nick start at 14 and 11.
Counting down the years until they can get their own licenses.
**Following camp flight lessons are conducted in 30 minute time slots.Students sign up for the lessons separately from the camp registration.The flight lessons are not mandatory they are an additional opportunity and most students take two lessons during the week.The current rate for a Cessna 152 (2 seat training aircraft) with instructor is an additional cost.
Students must have completed 4th grade and not entered high school yet, usually this means the age of the camper is between 11 and 13 years.Sometimes we get 10 and 14 year olds however they still must meet the grade requirements.
A Waiver and General Release for the Cleared for Take-off program must be on file the first day of the camp.A form is contained in the camp brochure.
A $100 Deposit check (non-refundable) should accompany the application (in camp brochure).It is understood that there are no refunds due to illness, absences or withdrawals.A balance of $125 is due the first day of camp for a total fee of $225.Checks are made payable to: Up, Up, And Away In Hunterdon, Inc.Camp will not take place with less than 8 participants per session.Your deposit will be returned if less than 8 participants register.
**Flight Instruction is an additional fee and is paid to Alexandria Field, Inc. the operators of the on site flight school at the time the lesson is given.The charge will be whatever the current rates are for aircraft and instruction.Additionally the student usually wants to buy a logbook at this time which runs about $8.00.