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Excelsior Student Surprised With Visit From Boeing’s Chief Pilot

Excelsior 6th grader Gage B. has always wanted to fly a fighter jet – ever since he was three years old. He even goes as far as saying he’s “pretty much obsessed with planes.”

Boeing Chief Pilot Steven Schmidt helps 6th Grader Gage B. put on an anti-G suit

6th Grader Gage B. puts on an anti-G suit with assistance by Boeing’s Chief Pilot Steven Schmidt

On Monday, Gage had the unique opportunity to meet someone who also had the same dreams and aspirations of becoming a fighter pilot.

Gage shared his ambitions in a letter he wrote to Boeing Defense in October as part of an assignment in Mrs. Henricksen’s Language Arts class. In the letter, Gage asked about the importance of writing in their job.

Boeing would respond to Gage’s letter including examples of how important writing is for their work. The letter would soon take off.

One of Boeing’s teams, supporting their T-X program (a development plane in competition to be the United States Air Force’s next trainer) were so moved by Gage’s statement that he would like to fly a jet, that they put together a short video. The video highlighted Gage’s letter and included a message from the aircraft in flight.

On Monday, January 22nd the video’s message (Fly & Dream) was given in person as by Boeing’s chief pilot for the F/A-18 and T-X, Steve Schmidt surprised Gage and his class with a visit.

Boeing's Chief Pilot Steven Schmidt speaks to Excelsior 6th graders

Boeing’s Chief Pilot for the F/A-18 and T-X speaks to Mrs. Henricksen’s 6th Grade Language Arts class.

After Gage tried on an anti-G suit and a pilot’s helmet, the class asked “Bull” numerous questions about what it is like to be a fighter and test pilot. “Bull” talked about how important writing and education is for pilots and the support staff such as the engineers who design the fighter jets and the maintenance staff who keep them flying.

Before departing, “Bull” gave everyone in Gage’s class aviator glasses which they happily donned for a selfie to remember the visit.

The video message by Boeing’s T-X teams can be viewed online.