Woodbury student interviews pilots, learns about aviation

Woodbury third-grader Theo Lewis sits in the pilot’s seat of a Meyer Agri-Air, Inc. crop duster.

Woodbury Elementary third-grader Theo Lewis has a deep interest in airplanes – from crop dusters to supersonic jets – and he has applied his interest through research projects this semester. 

Theo said his first experience flying in an airplane sparked his interest in aviation.

“The time that my interest really boosted was when I first went in an airplane to Atlanta,” he said. “I liked it … I felt like I was in the air.” 

Now, Theo can name several of the instruments a pilot must know to successfully fly a plane, as well as the various types of planes and how they are used. He even has a picture of a Cessna 172 cockpit on a wall at home. 

“Theo absorbs everything he can about things he’s passionate about and I’m just so impressed with all the work he’s done to expand his experience in this area,” said Woodbury Extended Learning Program teacher Nicole Holman Lankelma.

One recent research project saw Theo interview several pilots from different areas of the aviation industry. Through their firsthand experiences, Theo learned about commercial piloting, military flying, airshows, and flight school. 

In addition to reading up on aviation and interviewing pilots, Theo recently had the opportunity to sit in the pilot’s seat of a crop duster plane owned by Meyer Agri-Air at the Marshalltown Municipal Airport. He said the experience was fun and educational.

The Woodbury student said he currently plans to pursue a career as a private or commercial pilot, adding he will continue to learn more about the aviation industry.