Aviation Day coming to Grand Junction

An upcoming celebration of aviation will include  presentations to middle school students about careers in the industry.

Armstrong Consultants announced Grand Junction will host a National Aviation Day celebration set for Aug. 19 in the Maverick Innovation Center at Colorado Mesa University.

About 100 middle school students from Mesa County School District 51 are expected to participate as part of their involvement in the MESA program that promotes careers in science, technology, engineering and math. Interactive stations will highlight such subjects as drafting, engineering, physics and rockets.

“We see this is a great opportunity to give back to the community, to getting our youth excited about aviation and to being part of planting the seeds for our next generation of leaders in the industry. We have a passion for aviation and want to see it flourish in the Grand Valley,” said Dennis Corsi, president of Armstrong Consultants, a Grand Junction-based firm that provides a range of services to airports.

Dan Ashton, a retired Air Force pilot who directs an aviation degree program offered by CMU and Western Colorado Community College, also will lead a presentation. “Within the field of aviation, a career as a professional pilot is truly unique. It allows you to do what you love to do every day. The aviation fixed-wing program starting this fall at CMU can be the first step in one’s journey to become a professional pilot,” Ashton said.

Other organizations have joined in the celebration as sponsors and exhibitors, including the  Experimental Aircraft Association, Girl Scouts, Grand Junction Modeleers, Grand Junction Regional Airport, John McConnell Math and Science Center, Vail Valley Jet Center and 99s women’s aviation club.

By one estimate, aviation contributes $2.4 billion a year to the Colorado economy and supports more than 265,000 jobs with a combined payroll of $12.6 billion.