Fire to the People!

Skip Stewart’s Prometheus

The photograph with this post is from last July’s fourth of celebratory airshow. In the picture above, we can all see the pretty airplane flying low over the Mississippi River, trailing smoke, but I really want to draw your attention to the people standing on the observation decks, behind the aircraft. They are much closer and have a much better view of the airshow than I did. They are predominantly African-Americans and that is part of the East Saint Louis waterfront. Back in June, Anne and I were standing there. It was the turnaround point of what for this year was our most memorable bicycle ride. I’ve blogged about it already, in East Mound City.

Their Prometheus for whom this park is named is Malcolm W. Martin. There is a statue of him on the upper deck. He certainly brought fire to his community, I just pray that the gods didn’t punish him for his deeds.

Skip Stewart is an airline transport pilot, certified flight instructor, and has owned and operated an acrobatic flight school on top of his ten years of experience entertaining airshow fans around the world. His flying has been featured in several national and international magazines, including Sports Illustrated and Auto Pilot. He flies a modified Pitts S-2S he calls “Prometheus” that he custom-built himself.

Fourth Grade, Without a Net

Aeroshell Acrobatics Team

Anne was telling me about her school day last night at dinner. It sounded way more frenetic, even by my recent standards. I’ve been working hard lately, as opposed to hardly working, but this post is all about Anne and not me. The centerpiece of what I grasped at dinner was an Inquiry class exercise. Inquiry is what we dinosaurs would have called science and social studies, back in the day.

This was a cooperative learning strategy called Quiz-Quiz-Trade. Anne takes a sheet of Inquiry vocabulary words and their definitions, cuts them up into slips of paper and then folds them in half. One slip is distributed to each student. The class then stands up and with hands raised to signal willingness they somehow manage to partner up, “I had my hand up and Joey walked right by me.”

Once partnered up, each partner shows their mirror either the vocabulary word or its definition and expects the opposite. This is the Quiz-Quiz part of the exercise. If they both answer correctly, then the slips are traded and the partners go their separate ways looking for new partners. If the correct answer is not given then we enter the Tip-Tip-Tell phase of this exercise. The questioning student first offers two tips and then if necessary tells the answer.

The kids had worked hard and had been promised some free time on the computers as a reward. This is a valued treat, but time did not permit it. As the kids were lining up to catch their buses home, one young girl asked about computer free time. Anne, adhering to the law, No Child Left Behind, had to tell her not this day.

The AeroShell Acrobatic Team has been performing for over twenty-five years, amassing thousands of hours in front of airshow fans all over North America. Members of the team performing in St. Louis were Gene McNeelly, Mark Henley, Steve Gustafson, and Bryan Regan. They fly the agile AT-6 Texans, which were used as the primary platform for all U.S. airmen in World War II.