Students fly into history lesson about mail

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The historic first U.S. Airmail delivery will be celebrated at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds on Tuesday with a free event for elementary school students.

In 1911, Fred Wiseman flew a small, hand-built, open-cockpit plane from the fairgrounds in Petaluma to Santa Rosa. He carried with him three letters, a bag of groceries, and a few copies of The Press Democrat.

Elementary school students are invited to take the Wiseman-Cooke challenge in a STEM based activity from 3-5 p.m.

Participants will learn about the basics of flight, then select a paper airplane design of their choice. After constructing their plane, they will add the cargo, just as Fred Wiseman did, and attempt to fly it across a scale distance of Petaluma to Santa Rosa. Using the engineering design cycle, students evaluate their results, make modifications and try again.

Students will be guided by members of the Pacific Coast Air Museum’s Education Committee. The Press Democrat’s Mike Glose, a member of Petalumans of Yesteryear, who often plays Fred Wiseman for historical events, will be on hand to share insights about the important flight and answer questions.

Families are invited to bring children in grades 1-5 to the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds to enjoy the event in Herzog Hall.

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