KDOT aviation director makes paper airplanes, presents award during visit to Hutch

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Kansas Department of Transportation Director of Aviation Merrill Atwater visited Hutchinson on lighthearted business Tuesday.

He was in Hutchinson to present a $500 scholarship to Luke Schawe, 15, one of the winners of the Kansas level of the International Aviation Art Contest.

And while in town, he also spent about four hours at the Cosmosphere, making paper airplanes with kids visiting on spring break.

He said he had been invited by Cosmosphere Vice President of Education Tracey Tomme, and it sounded like a fun outreach opportunity.

Atwater said every pilot has a story about when they realized they wanted to be a pilot, and he hoped playing with paper airplanes could be the first step toward that moment for future pilots.

He was scheduled to be at the Cosmosphere from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and a little after 1 p.m.

He estimated 50 or more children had stopped by to fold a paper airplane out of paper with guide marks on it.

Some kids tried to toss their plane through a hoop suspended high in the air, while others tested how far their plane could glide when thrown from the second-story landing.