Alyssa Miller

Flat Stanley’s incredible Sun ‘n Fun spring break

April 2, 2012 by Alyssa Miller, AOPA Online Managing Editor

Most parent, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and neighbors of those who have small children know—and have met or traveled with—Flat Stanley, a character from Jeff Brown’s Flat Stanley children’s book. The book is often included in elementary school curricula, and students send him to friends and family to document his time and adventures. They then return Flat Stanley to the students with photos and a rundown of his activities.

Flat Stanley meets the U.S. Air Force ThunderbirdsMy cousin, who’s a first grader in Ohio, sent Flat Stanley to me about a week before Sun ‘n Fun, so I stuffed him in my purse for the trek to Florida. He’s a good little traveler—no complaints about the 3:15 a.m. alarm to wake up and leave for Baltimore Washington International/Thurgood Marshall Airport for a 6:35 a.m. flight. At Sun ‘n Fun, Flat Stanley accompanied me to interview the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, watch a night airshow, and man AOPA’s Sweepstakes Husky.

His adventures aren’t over yet. Back at AOPA headquarters, he’ll get to fly along in a Cessna 172 and later in April will travel to Ohio for the B-25 gathering at Grimes Field in Urbana. When he returns to my cousin, his envelope might be a little crowded with pictures and tales of his adventures, not to mention some foam glider cutouts and educational worksheets.

Flat Stanley is an excellent way to expose children to new experiences. Now, he can help introduce them to the wonders of aviation and plant the seed for future pilots.

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