Exploring Aviation Abroad

Posted: April 6, 2023

Touring commercial airliners, exploring aviation museums and splitting the prime meridian.  For students in the Center for Aviation Studies’ international perspectives in aviation course, these were just a few of the memorable learning experiences during their spring break trip to the United Kingdom.

Led by Lecturer Matt Dreher and Interim Director Brian Strzempkowski, the group of 29 students in the semester-long course spent 10 days exploring aviation in the cities of Bristol and London, England.

“Students participating in this program had the opportunity to see first-hand just how global the aviation industry really is,” said Dreher, who organized the trip. “I really believe that breaking out of our normal routine to go see how the industry works in other places will be invaluable to our students as they enter their professional careers.”

Memorial outdoors with model airplane and text description

The group left an Ohio State pin at the North Weald memorial in honor of Don Scott.

Stops along the journey included aviation destinations, as well as cultural excursions. Highlights were visiting British Airways corporate and operational facilities and museum, greeting aviation executive and Ohio State alumnus Alex Cruz and touring the Airbus facilities. The group enjoyed an Ohio connection at the Fleet Air Arm Museum, home to a Naval aircraft manufactured in Akron, Ohio.

Of special import was a visit to North Weald, where a memorial commemorates the ultimate sacrifice of World War II soldiers stationed at the airfield. Among those who lost their lives was Ohio State student Don Scott, namesake of Ohio State’s airfield.

According to Dreher, the group pulled together to “navigate cultural differences, transportation strikes and all the other little things that come up when you’re in another country.”

The trip ended with a visit to Cranfield University, recognized as the only university in Europe to have its own airport, pilots, air navigation service provider and aircraft.

Large group lines up on the prime meridian outdoors

While visiting the Royal Observatory, the group split the prime meridian.

Abby Pollauf, aerospace engineering, noted how the trip related to her career plans. “I want a career in aviation focusing on defense, and it was incredible to see England’s naval aircraft and how they’ve evolved over the course of the last century,” she said. “This trip has fostered my passion for aviation, and I want to keep diving into more ways it will shape the world we live in!”

One objective of the course was to prepare students to operate in an international setting upon graduation.

“I wanted to do the study abroad trip to broaden my horizons when it comes to aviation,” said aerospace engineering student Hannah Wetklow. “This trip opened my eyes to every aspect of the industry, and I am excited to begin my career knowing all of the things I do now.”

Students have already been asking Dreher about plans for next year’s iteration of the course.

Two students make an O-H-I-O pose with jet turbines

Two students strike an Ohio State O-H-I-O pose with jet turbines.

“It’s still in the approval phase but, I’m excited to share that we are planning to visit both France and Spain in spring 2024,” he said. “Our itinerary will take us through Paris, Toulouse, Barcelona and Madrid.”

“Based on the early feedback we’ve received about these plans, I think it’s safe to say that our students are excited, and, I have to admit, so am I!”

Those interested should plan to apply to the spring course ENG 5797.25 International Perspectives in Aviation. Details will be released on the Office of International Affairs Global Education website in the coming months and applications will be due this autumn. Students wishing to be notified when the application is live, may request so by emailing dreher.60@osu.edu.

by Holly Henley, communications specialist

Original story posted here