By MEGAN CASSADA, Teacher, and STEPHANYE DOUCETTE, Student, Lewiston Middle School

A full 100 years after the Wright Brothers successfully invented and flew the first airplane, Lewiston Middle School’s Team 83 students and teachers celebrated the century of flight by taking a September trip to the Auburn-Lewiston Airport for a firsthand opportunity to see and tour airplanes. Students toured restored World War II aircraft as well as a Lockheed Super Constellation “Star of America,” the luxurious airliner flown in the mid 20th century and owned by Maurice Roundy, a local airplane enthusiast. Students also toured the airport facility with airport staff and had opportunities to ask questions. Here is eighth grader Stephanye Doucette’s firsthand account of her experience:

Another airplane’s screaming engine sounded as we all hopped off of the first bus at the Auburn-Lewiston Airport. It was still early, around 8:30, and it was chilly without long sleeves. My classmates and I waited patiently for the other two buses to unload and our teachers to take attendance. Then, nearly 20 minutes later, we began our trip.

Of the three groups, ours was the first to walk to the home of Maurice Roundy to see the Constellation Star liners in his backyard. He explained to us a brief history of the Star liners and how they were used in the 1940s and 50s. Very few of them are now in existence. We also got the chance to climb aboard one of the Star liners. They’re much smaller on the inside than what they look like on the outside. The roof is low and it’s not very wide. The cockpit is a jumbled mess of gears, gismos, and gadgets.

All too soon, it was time to depart from our newly-found friend and make our way back to the Auburn-Lewiston Airport. Once back, we caught our first glimpse of the famous B-17 “Flying Fortress.” It was immense from the outside, and the nose art on the left side of it showed St. Christopher thumbing his nose at the German forces. Directly underneath were three swastikas, symbolizing that this plane had shot down three German planes. Finally, at long last, we were allowed to go inside.

I was one of the lucky few that got to go inside ahead of the mob of kids. I saw the few people ahead of me climbing up and stooping. I didn’t realize that the door was directly beneath the pilot’s seat! As soon as we were off the ladder, we had to crawl a few feet, and then we could stand up. It was really warm in the plane, and everything seemed too small. The seats that the men sat on for their ride across the Atlantic were about the right size for first graders. Between the dormant racks of bombs was a four-inch walkway to the back half of the plane. There the navigator would sit in another teeny seat. There were four enormous guns, one fully loaded with a row of .50 caliber bullets. Luckily the safety was on! At the very back of the plane, there was one more gun, the one at the very base of the tail, where a man would lie down and shoot. Then the time trip from the 40s was over and we were back to the present time.

My classmates and I spent the remainder of our time exploring the outside of the plane. Most of us were very much in awe at the site of these powerful weapons. It was amazing to see these planes from the movie screen to real life.

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