“Hey, do you have the flaps up?”

“Watch it! We’re coming in for a landing!”

“Make sure your seatbelts are fastened!”

These phrases aren’t necessarily things you’d hear every day at an elementary school, and they weren’t common at Thomas D. Gregg School 15 until now.

On January 14, 2015, Thomas Gregg will open the doors to its new Pacers Mission Control Room. Inside you’ll find a flight simulator, air traffic control center and much more!

In the spring of 2014 Thomas Gregg was awarded a $50,000 grant from the Pacers Foundation for creation of the Mission Control Room, and since that time, the project has taken flight!

IPS Facilities Management Division climbed aboard and built the flight simulator and air traffic control center. They even hung an airplane in the cafeteria!

While the new installations are cool, everything still has an education component.

“There’s a lot more math than I thought taking place with air traffic control,” Donavan said.

His classmates agree. “It’s kind of different working with the rate and time,” Alexiea said.

The students are referring to a recent math lesson that incorporated formulas for air traffic and how controllers need to calculate speed and time of aircraft to prevent collisions. It’s now just one of the many ways Thomas Gregg teachers are using aviation in their lessons.

And it has the kids excited, especially in regards to the hands-on opportunities available in the Mission Control Room.

“You get to experience flying,” TeAzye said. “And you can be an air traffic controller and see all the different airplanes in the sky.”

The air traffic control center includes an actual radar that shows all the planes flying over the United States at any given time. As the pilot operates the controls onboard, the flight simulator moves as well. The students can have an entire flight experience from land to sky and back again.

“Their interest levels are high; they’re volunteering and paying attention,” sixth-grade teacher Kelly Beaman said. “They want to learn more, and this new space gives them that opportunity.”

The Mission Control Room has the students thinking of their futures as well.

“I like how there are a bunch of jobs we could get in aviation,” Donavan said. “It looks like an interesting career.”

“It’s fun to watch them think about all the possibilities of aviation through their own eyes,” Beaman said. “They’re getting the opportunity to experiment in an adult field.”

On Wednesday evening Thomas Gregg will host a Grand Opening for the Mission Control Room. Selected students will explain and demonstrate how everything works.

We’re proud of Thomas Gregg and the strides they’ve made with their Avaiation and Aerospace curriculum! We’re excited for the Bulldogs as they embark on this new adventure skyward!