Aviation Merit Badge
Aviation Merit Badge Info
Since 1903, aviation has exploded from a 12 second flight on a sand dune to jetting around the globe, aloft for hours. Breaking free of earth to fly is one of the most exciting things humans can do. This merit badge introduces scouts to the current technology of how flight actually happens.
An airplane is a complicated system of systems that a pilot monitors and controls. Quite a few of these requirements are technical knowledge that serve as a basis for understanding the complexities that get an aircraft in the air and safely keep it there.
It is possible to complete this badge with just a model airplane and a visit to an air facility, but a scout could choose to actually fly on a plane and build an expensive flying model. Most do the former, but requirement 3a to build a gas or electric airplane is the best requirement of the badge. Aviation sits at about 37th most popular position among the merit badges with about 13,000 scouts doing it every year.
Requirements for the Aviation merit badge:
- Do the following:
- Define 'aircraft'. Describe some kinds and uses of aircraft today. Explain the operation of piston, turboprop, and jet engines.
- Point out on a model airplane the forces that act on an airplane in flight.
- Explain how an airfoil generates lift, how the primary control surfaces (ailerons, elevators, and rudder) affect the airplane's attitude, and how a propeller produces thrust.
- Demonstrate how the control surfaces of an airplane are used for takeoff, straight climb, level turn, climbing turn, descending turn, straight descent, and landing.
- Explain the following: the sport pilot, the recreational pilot and the private pilot certificates; the instrument rating.
- Do TWO of the following:
- Take a flight in an aircraft, with your parent's permission. Record the date, place, type of aircraft, and duration of flight, and report on your impressions of the flight.
- Under supervision, perform a preflight inspection of a light aircraft.
- Obtain and learn how to read an aeronautical chart. Measure a true course on the chart. Correct for magnetic variation, compass deviation, and wind drift to determine a compass heading.
- Using one of many flight simulator software packages available for computers, 'fly' the course and heading you established in requirement 2c or another course you have plotted.
- Explain the purposes and functions of the various instruments found in a typical single-engine aircraft: attitude indicator, heading indicator, altimeter, airspeed indicator, turn and bank indicator, vertical speed indicator, compass, navigation (GPS and VOR) and communication radios, tachometer, oil pressure gauge, and oil temperature gauge.
- Create an original poster of an aircraft instrument panel. Include and identify the instruments and radios discussed in requirement 2e.
- Do ONE of the following:
- Build and fly a fuel-driven or battery-powered electric model airplane. Describe safety rules for building and flying model airplanes. Tell safety rules for use of glue, paint, dope, plastics, fuel, and battery packs.
- Build a model FPG-9 (Foam Plate Glider). Get others in your troop or patrol to make their own model, then organize a competition to test the precision of flight and landing of the models.
- Do ONE of the following:
- Visit an airport. After the visit, report on how the facilities are used, how runways are numbered, and how runways are determined to be 'active.'
- Visit a Federal Aviation Administration facility - a control tower, terminal radar control facility, air route traffic control center, or Flight Standards District Office. (Phone directory listings are under U.S. Government Offices, Transportation Department, Federal Aviation Administration. Call in advance.) Report on the operation and your impressions of the facility.
- Visit an aviation museum or attend an air show. Report on your impressions of the museum or show.
- Find out about three career opportunities in aviation. Pick one and find out the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss this with your counselor, and explain why this profession might interest you.
Hints for Aviation Merit Badge
- For requirement 2, 2c & 2d should be done together, or 2e & 2f should be done together.
- For requirement 3a, the model must be built, not just purchased finished - and the price tag will probably be over $150. The FPG-9 in requirement 3b costs 3 cents but is not nearly as fun.
Terminology for the Aviation Merit Badge
- Aircraft - an airplane, helicopter, or other machine capable of flight.
- Attitude Indicator - displays the aircraft orientation relative to Earth's horizon.
- Heading Indicator - displays aircraft's direction.
- Altimeter - displays aircraft altitude above sea level.
- Airspeed Indicator - displays the speed of the aircraft through the air, not necessarily the actual distance being covered.
- Turn and Bank Indicator - displays the sharpness of the turn and whether any slip or skid is occurring.
- Vertical Speed Indicator - displays aircraft rate of climb or descent.
- Compass - displays aircraft direction based on magnetic poles.
- Tachometer - displays aircraft engine's revolutions per minute.
Resources for Aviation Merit Badge
Read about piston, turboprop, and jet engines.
Learn about weight, lift, thrust, drag which are the forces acting on an airplane.
Explore the parts of an aircraft, including control surfaces.
This video explains the control surfaces:
Consider the different kinds of pilot licenses.
You can download aeronautical charts from FAA.gov in PDF form, but they are very large.
Try this fun, free, online flight simulator to practice your controls, or Google Earth includes a free flight simulator.
Instructions to build a FPG-9 Glider.
Apr 30, 2013 - zachary
Mar 20, 2016 - Gary J clews
Apr 08, 2016 - Chi Nguyen
Aug 13, 2017 - Kim Jurgens
May 01, 2018 - anthony
Dec 11, 2019 - kieran baldwin
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