The morning of the 2014 Space Camp TweetUp & Aviation Challenge was amazing, but the afternoon was all adventure!
Just after lunch we all changed into our swim clothes for our water adventures! The first activity was the zip line!
Do you see that tower? It’s huge! Well, okay, not huge, but it’s around 35 feet up in the air. It looks a lot higher than that when you have to climb up the stairs and walk up to the platform to get harnessed in. Space Camp and it’s staff are very aware of safety, and because of this, it makes it much more enjoyable to zip line backwards 150ft into the largest man made lake east of the Mississippi River. The part of the lake that you see in the picture is lightly chlorinated and felt great on such a hot day! The other part of the lake, not pictured, is just a normal lake with turtles, fish, and other aquatic life.
The next adventure was the Helicopter “Helo” Dunker. This thing is nuts! It’s a large, metal cylinder that fits 6 adults in it sitting on benches. This mimics the interior of a military “chopper”. There are two seats in the front that are front facing for the pilot and co-pilot. There are two bench seats facing each other in the back with room for four adults total. What you can’t see is that the floor, front, and rear of the Dunker are made out metal mesh…all the better to let water in. Gallons and gallons of water are let in. Let me rephrase that, gallons and gallons of water RUSH in around your feet. However, as you can see, we all had helmets and life jackets on. I HATE wearing life jackets, but it was imperative that we all wore them because when that water starts rushing in, your first instinct is to panic. Once you start to float, however, you realize that you are having a great time. Well, we were having a great time until one of us died, others had limbs amputated in the crash, another decided upon crashing that he hated water, and another teammate decided they were Tom Cruise. You get to run scenarios at Aviation Camp. What would it really be like to have to think under that kind of pressure in that kind of emergency scenario. It’s all very safe and highly simulated, but the point is made. It was more fun than should be had by a group of adults who had only known each other for about 4 hours at that point.
Our last adventure for our day was the one that all of us were super excited about! We got to fly F-18 Super Hornet flight simulators.This went beyond a video screen and joystick. This was a full mock up of the dials, buttons, switches, and feel of a fighter jet. We all got to practice taking off and landing. Then, we got our ammunition, and we tried to shoot each other down. Yeah, that screen on the bottom right. That’s what happens when you get shot down. Looks like it was a good thing I didn’t become a pilot.
I would highly recommend taking you, your family, or a group of friends to experience Space Camp or Aviation Camp. Both of these camps have adult and family camps to choose from. Of course, kids can choose between Space Camp, Aviation Camp, and Robotics Camp. All of the camps are held on the U.S. Space and Rocket Center’s main campus in Huntsville, AL. You will have fun, learn great and amazing things, and meet amazing people while you are there. Have a BLAST!