The Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission (OAC) hosted “celebrities” from the Oklahoma aviation and aerospace community judge the 2019 Aeronautics Commission Aviation & Aerospace Art Contest.
The state-level art contest, sponsored by the OAC, encourages youth, ages 6 to 17, to reflect on aviation by designing a piece of art based on the year’s chosen theme. This year’s contest theme was “My Dream to Fly.”
In the year 2014, 35 students participated. In 2015, there were 85 entrants. A total of 132 students contributed in 2016 and the contest yielded 1,112 entries from 73 schools statewide in 2017. The entries for 2018 accounted for 1,301 entries and 81 schools across the state. In 2019, the agency received 1,220 entries from 86 schools. This year marks the most participating schools since the Commission began hosting the contest. The agency attributes their success to their aviation art contest calendar which is mailed to all of the public and private schools across the state.
“Recently we learned from a comprehensive economic impact study of aviation and aerospace activity, that aviation and aerospace has become the second largest industry in the state providing over 206,000 jobs. We must have skilled and competent workers for that industry to remain viable,” director of aeronautics Vic Bird said. “The annual Oklahoma Aviation Art Contest is critical to stimulating aviation interest among young minds. If we can reach them at the earliest of ages, we can guide them into STEM based education and aviation and aerospace careers.”
The judges included Brian Dahlvang, communications program specialist, FAA Monroney Center, who is also a graphic designer and artist; Aeronautics District 4 Commissioner Lindy Ritz, former FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) Monroney Center director and current president of the Ritz Group who also serves as the assistant director of the FAA Center of Excellence, Brigadier General Ben T. Robinson, former Commander, 552nd Air Control Wing at Tinker Air Force Base and owner of Century One, LLC; State Representative Tammy West from House District 84, who serves as an Assistant Majority Whip and the Majority Caucus Chair; Retired Army Chief Warrant Officer 5, Chase Rutledge, pilot and journalist for KOCO’s Sky5 helicopter; Britton Lee, single and multi-engine certified flight instructor and designated pilot examiner and airframe and powerplant mechanic; and Jeff James, vice president of aerospace education for the Air Force Association Gerrity Chapter #215.
“We were greatly pleased with the number of schools and students represented in rural and urban areas. The Commission is purposefully removed from any of the judging aspects of the contest, and the outcome is based solely on the volunteer judges from the aviation and aerospace community,” said Sandra Shelton, contest organizer and public information officer for the Commission. “We thank every teacher who participated in the contest and encouraged their students to enter, and we hope they will enter again next year.”
The top three entries in each age division are forwarded to Washington, D.C., where they compete nationally against other winners from the U.S. for the right to advance to the international competition.
The 2019 International Aviation Art Contest is sponsored, in large part, by the National Aeronautic Association, Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, National Association of State Aviation Officials, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, National Coalition for Aviation and Space Education, Federal Aviation Administration and the Ken Cook Co.