United Way of Southwest Alabama / Uncategorized  / Airbus Foundation Flying Challenge Launched Fifth Year of the Program in Mobile

Airbus Foundation Flying Challenge Launched Fifth Year of the Program in Mobile

(Mobile, AL) – Students from Palmer Pillans Middle School (Pillans) and employees from Airbus Americas Engineering in Mobile (Airbus) launched the 2020 Airbus Foundation Flying Challenge (AFFC) on Friday, January 17, 2020 with the first of their weekly mentoring sessions. During the session, students where tasked to make whirlybirds with three materials and a finished product sample. This fun activity focused on the concepts of gravity, weight, lift, and aerodynamics.

Throughout the spring in the mentoring session, the students will have hands-on activities & experiments similar to the whirlybird project. Each will focus on STEM concepts essential for aviation and engineering. In addition to their classroom work, the students will have aviation-related field trips, including a chance to fly in a plane, and a trip to the Exploreum.

In addition to making children more confident in their schoolwork, AFFC aims to improve students’ self-esteem, improve attendance, engage them in learning, build life skills as well as begin to consider higher education and future career paths. Partnering on AFFC to develop and implement the program in Mobile include: United Way of Southwest Alabama (UWSWA), Airbus Mobile, the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center (Exploreum), the Mobile Area Education Foundation (MAEF), and the Mobile County Public School System (MCPSS) .

The Pillans students’ first excursion was a retreat at Camp Whispering Pines in Citronelle. The Airbus mentors and students were guided through a low ropes course by trained facilitators. The course, games, and other outdoor activities were designed to promote team work and good communication between the students and Airbus mentors.

About Airbus Americas

Airbus Americas locations in Herndon, VA; Atlanta, GA; Miami, FL; Wichita, KS; and Mobile, AL have partnered with The United Way of the National Capital Area, United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta, United Way of Miami-Dade, United Way of the Planes, and the United Way of Southwest Alabama, respectively. With a team of more than 55,000 people around the world, Airbus manufactures the most modern and eco-efficient family of airliners available, ranging from 100 to over 500 seats. Airbus has assembly facilities in Toulouse, France; Hamburg, Germany; Tianjin, China; and Mobile, Alabama. Airbus has spent more than $187 billion in the U.S. since 1990—$14 billion in 2016 alone—with hundreds of American suppliers in more than 40 states. For more information about Airbus, please visit

About the Airbus Foundation
The Airbus Foundation, chaired by Tom Enders, CEO of Airbus Group, includes Airbus, Airbus Helicopters and Airbus Defense and Space as founding and contributing members. It is the company’s vehicle for corporate philanthropy, using the Group’s resources, aeronautic and space products, competencies, diverse workforce and culture for driving innovation to address societal issues. In particular, the Foundation supports the global humanitarian community and inspires and prepares young people for the challenges of tomorrow. More information can be found at:

About United Way of Southwest Alabama

United Way of Southwest Alabama (UWSWA) serves Choctaw, Clarke, Mobile, and Washington counties. Created in 1926 as a Community Chest, UWSWA’s mission is to improve the quality of life in the community. The vision of UWSWA is to strengthen communities by focusing on uniting and mobilizing resources in support of the building blocks for a better life: education, financial stability, health, and essentials. UWSWA has raised and invested into our community more than $245 million to help strengthen its capacity for positive community progress. Many of the issues that affect our community are addressed by funded programs and initiatives that help more than half a million local people each year. For more information, visit

About Mobile Area Education Foundation

The Mobile Area Education Foundation, founded in 1992, is Mobile’s only community-based nonprofit leading a county-wide partnership of citizens, businesses, public schools, and public agencies working together to ensure that all children are given the opportunity to succeed, experience a rigorous and relevant education, and graduate college and career ready.

About Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center

With more than 150 interactive exhibits, thought-provoking larger-than-life IMAX films, and fun, hands-on educational programming, the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center aspires to increase science literacy among the people of south Alabama and the Gulf Coast region, residents and visitors alike. It does this through permanent hands-on galleries, educational exhibitions, guided tours, lectures, classes, school field trips, youth camps, exciting festivals and events, and interactive demonstrations using chemistry, healthy cooking, engineering, art, physics, aviation, earth science, and more. It is a destination for families with children, adults, seniors and all ages. By sparking imagination, creating curiosity, and instilling a sense of wonder in the world, the Exploreum has been a cornerstone of informal learning on the Gulf Coast since its inception more than 30 years ago. With the continued support of the community—visionary civic leaders, generous donors, contributing members and volunteers—the Exploreum is able to bring the world of science to the Gulf Coast.

About Mobile County Public School System

The Mobile County Public School System (MCPSS) is the largest in the state of Alabama with approximately 59,000 students in 90 schools. MCPSS earns state and national recognition and holds a record of 99.6 percent of highly qualified teachers. Accredited by national standards of AdvanceEd, the mission of the MCPSS is to graduate prepared and productive citizens. Offering a variety of pathways to academic and career success, visit us at for more.