Friday, May 29, 2009

Merit Badge of the Week: Aviation

Flight is one of mankind's oldest dreams.  A toy glider has been found in the ruins of ancient Egypt.  

My eldest son's Scoutmaster 15 years ago, used to take the Scouts up in his personal craft and with a little instruction, turn the controls over.  The Scout would spend 30-45 minutes gliding around the airspace over the countryside and nearby mountain.  Big fun...and really scary for the dad sitting in the back seat!

The first Aviation merit badge was offered in 1911, with several variations from 1942 to 1952:  Aerodynamics, Aeronautics, Airplane Design and Airplane Structure.  No doubt, these were fueled by the aircraft needs of World War II.  1952 brought back the single Aviation merit badge.

16,483 Aviation merit badges were awarded in 2007 (last year statistics are posted at

The BSA website has the requirements posted for the Aviation merit badge.

Resource List

  1. Always start with "Introduction to Merit Badges" for the steps to a successful merit badge.
  2. Worksheet for Aviation from  This is a great tool to organize your work, projects and thoughts.
  3. Civil Air Patrol:  Youth aged 12-18 can fly and participate in their Cadet Program.
  4. Plug for a flying career:  The United States Air Force
  5. Model Airplane News online--blogs, plans, videos and more.  Serious hobbyist website.
  6. Serious discussion on lift.  Complete with math formulas.
  7. Details on aircraft instruments:  how they are arranged, what they do and what they look like.
  8. A little airplane fun: has animated instructions to fold 10 great planes.
  9. Federal Aviation Administration--home to all the rules, saftey procedures and accident/incident information.
  10. National Aviation Hall of Fame--lots to see and do here (especially their Learning Center).
Related BSA merit badges:  Model Design and Building; Space Exploration

Do you have a resource for the Aviation merit badge?  Please share your information, ideas and stories in the comments or on Twitter.

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