Flying High!

Travis Brown and his dad, Scott Brown, a teacher at South Charlotte Middle School, are building their own airplane, inspiring Scott to help create interest in experimental aviation through his upcoming aviation magazine, “Plane Crazy.”

Scott Brown loves teaching math to his seventh-grade students at South Charlotte Middle School. It’s definitely a passion of his.
But being bound to a classroom wasn’t always his dream job. In fact, this is just his second year teaching middle school students – a much different perspective from the aerial view Brown had as a pilot for 16 years.

Now, Brown is combining his two professions to help encourage science, technology, engineering and math in the classroom while creating a larger interest in aviation worldwide.

Brown’s vision started with his son Travis, a 14 year old who lives in Catawba County, Brown’s home. With more than 30 years in the aviation industry and a love for experimental aviation – specifically designing and building planes – Brown was excited to find that his passion was rubbing off when Travis showed interest in experimental aviation himself, asking his dad for the opportunity to build a plane together.

“All of sudden, recently he said ‘Dad, I want to build an airplane.’ I was kind of floored,” Brown said. “I would never expect that from a 14-year-old boy.”

His son’s interest helped spark an idea to help bring back enthusiasm to experimental aviation, Brown said. That’s why he hopes to spread his passion through an aviation magazine called “Plane Crazy.” His idea comes after starting his blog, www.buzzbarnstormer.com, an avenue for Brown to share memorable stories through his aviation career. But after nearly 600,000 hits and interests from fellow experimental aviators, Brown saw a need for a different avenue.

“Most of the magazines out there right now when it comes to aviation all went corporate because that’s where all the money is at,” Brown said. “I understand that, but I’m not trying to make a lot of money from my magazine. I’m just doing it because I love doing it. I’m doing this just because I love flying and I really want to see kids get involved like what my son is doing.”

“Plane Crazy,” set to release in early 2013, is a grassroots magazine that will focus on the people who build experimental planes and will exist to promote interest in aviation to younger generations. Brown hopes the magazine will provide a platform for experimental enthusiasts to share ideas, strategies and tips about building. Brown says he has enough followers to produce 25,000 copies of the first quarterly magazine, to be distributed throughout the United States and Europe, plus select airports.

So far, Brown found his story ideas and topics by visiting fly-ins and airshows all over the East Coast, taking notes and pictures as he goes along.

“It’s really phenomenal stuff,” he said. “It seems aviation is kind of dying off.  I just want it to be fun again – get it back to grassroots aviation, like building and designing airplanes.

“I’ve got a bunch of friends all over the world that are wanting to contribute. I want the magazine to be about the people that are buying them. It doesn’t really mean too much until it’s about the people that are reading the thing.”

Brown and Travis are currently building a Van’s Aircraft RV-4, where Brown is teaching his son how to use the tools, read the plans and how to construct properly. So far, they’ve constructed the tail and are working to start the wings.

And since Travis was part of the inspiration, Brown says he’d like for his son to have a part in the magazine.

“I’ve sent articles about him building a plane,” Brown said, adding that most of the content has already been sent to local graphic designers. “When I told him he would be inside the magazine, he was really excited. I’d like for him to eventually have his own section. I think if I can get him to a place where he can write about building a plane in the magazine, he’ll be really excited because his words will be in print and he gets to work on his writing skills.”

In the meantime, Brown says he’s using the same principles that are involved in airplane building and design to help students at South Charlotte Middle. As the Science Olympiad coach, he says many of the building events for competition involve similar physics and mathematical concepts that are used in aviation, where he hopes to share his magazine with his
students.

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