Rotary wing tour spurs curiosity in aviation

  • Published
  • By Michelle Gigante

DUKE FIELD, Fla. - From the top of the air traffic control tower, kids scanned the 360-view as aircraft converged on the airfield. This occasion was their first glimpse into the world of aviation. 

Earning their Aviation Merit Badge became reality with the team effort of the 413th Flight Test Squadron, who hosted the Niceville Scouts BSA Troop 553, Jan. 4, 2023, at Duke Field. 

“We are trying to teach a little about aviation, so maybe it inspires them to enter the career field,” said Joel Abrahams, Niceville Scouts BSA Troop 553 assistant scoutmaster. “We really seek to develop high performing members of our society through scouting, whether they be leaders, engineers or whatever sparks their interest.” 

The scouts worked with the 413th FLTS to learn about the intricacies of aviation and precision air traffic control specialists and pilots undertake in the skies to earn their career function badges. 


“Aviation is a great career field and requires hard work to get qualified,” said Tech. Sgt. Nathan Haney, 96th Operations Support Squadron traffic control specialist. “It involves problem solving talents and dedication, but worth the effort. As a traffic control specialist, I enjoy the job and keeping people safe.” 


 The troop also conducted a preflight check together with the help of the 413th FLTS on a UH-1N Huey, got a close-up view of the BETA Technologies Alia electric aircraft, and a hands-on opportunity to ride in the Alia’s simulator. 

“I think these types of new developments in aviation and Air Force can inspire scouts and youth in the community to get involved in aviation,” said Abrahams.”  

The 413th FLTS host a number of groups at the installation and plan to continue the community outreach as long as it does not interfere with the test mission. 

“It’s a great opportunity to inspire our youth,” said Maj. Riley Livermore, 413th FLTS Futures Flight commander. “I am responsible for advancing how we test the next generation of technology and the ability to get the next generation exposure to this technology is crucial to our success.”