Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Clausen Pushes for Aviation Education for Children

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Clausen Pushes for Aviation Education for Children

Article excerpt

Aviation apparently has moved into the number two spot among the state's largest industries, following only the energy industry, as contributors to the state's economy.

But if leaders of the state's aviation community have their way, it will move into first place before the turn of the century.

Before that can happen, industry leaders must involve education to introduce children to aviation at an earlier age, Don Clausen told the Governor's Task Force on Aerospace and Aviation Education.

"You need to establish an aviation and space education forum for not only the State Legislature, but also in the schools," said Clausen, a former U.S. Representative from California serving as special consultant to the administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration. "When I was in Congress, I established an aviation forum for members who were pilots or just had an interest in aviation.

"The forum started out with 150 members but before long, we had nearly every member of Congress attending at one time or another.

"Use of this forum, which helped them (the congressmen) understand the problems in aviation, helped us get a lot of bills passed to encourage further development in aviation."

Clausen, who works periodically with aviation groups in many states, was instrumental is setting up an aviation-aerospace task force in California under Gov. Ronald Reagan which led to an increase in that state's aviation industry.

Oklahoma's task force is patterned after the one Clausen estabalished in California.

"It's important that you establish aviation and aeropsace education as a state priority," he said. "Buildng partnerships among business, education and government is designed to provide a technically qualified work force.

"The education forum should be able to provide all the teachers in the state with information, including database material, they need to conduct aviation-related courses in their schools.

"Go beyond this and develop a fly-a-community leadg way toward helping solve future problems."

The industry also should lobby state legislators to try to counter false ideas about aviation, he said.

"Aviation is important to this state's economy," he said. "You've got to protect it and improve it, diversify your economic base. Even the Oklahoma Futures (a state-wide ecoomic development umbrella group) has pinpointed the aviation-aerospace industry as one of its targeted industries to attract to this state.

"But first, you've got to get more education in the elementary school levels," he said. "Get these kids interested in aviation and an aviation career before they get hooked on something else, like drugs, and the sooner you start, the better off you're going to be.

"But don't limit this involvement to the elementary schools. …

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