Day 58 - October 11, 2016

Drag race against a helicopter - By Nick Peters

Today was the first day in a while that most of us where able to sleep in, except for a small and unfortunate group giving a presentation at California State University. Personally, I was able to sleep until 11:30 which is the latest I've woken up in the entire world tour so far. Breakfast consisted of freshly baked bread from the wildly popular Cuban bakery across the street, some of us even went there to get luxurious pastries or sandwiches.

In the afternoon two groups split of to give presentations: One group went to the local high school "Downey High", and the other group went to "Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum" or TAM (http://www.tamuseum.org/) in Compton.

This is where things get really interesting so let me give you a bit of background information on Compton, the museum and the event: Compton is a city in the LA area traditionally seen as fairly poor and dangerous area. The Museum is basically a small airport and hangar with cool airplanes and helicopters founded by Robin Petgrave. Aside from being a museum TAM is a educational institute that supports several education programs and gives kids the opportunity to learn skills such as flying. In fact some of the worlds youngest successful pilots are trained here. In addition to TAM the hangar is also home to one of Robin Petgrave's other companies called celebrity helicopters which takes famous people and Instagram models on helicopter trips around LA to take pictures or video (see Robin's Instagram account for some of the beautiful shots: https://www.instagram.com/robin.at.tam/)

The event we were invited to was organised for a group of primary school kids, in part to promote the US STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) educational program to the young kids. Among the other participants was a robotics teacher showing the awesome creations of his students ranging from a remote controlled airplane-car to a robotic arm. And there was a young successful engineer who grew up in Compton to speak of his experience and to give advice to the kids. After a couple of inspirational speeches it was my turn to give the presentation. It was my first time giving a presentation during the world tour and I had received a slightly modified PowerPoint for a younger audience from Senja. Because everyone was in such an inspirational mood I decided to expand on the presentation to talk about the value of teamwork in the field of engineering.

During my Presentation Robin had been talking to Bram who was driving the motorcycle that day, and they had been scheming up some brilliant plans. When I was done he made the crazy announcement that they were going to drag race the motorcycle against one of his helicopters. This got the kids (and adults) really exited, and let's be honest, how often do you get to see an electric motorcycle racing against a helicopter? So we quickly moved outside to the landing strip where we prepared everything. The race was only across a small part of the landing strip, so it was over in just a few seconds, the result was so close that we needed to watch the bust mode pictures on the camera to see that the motorcycle had won by just a small hair. Just seconds after the finish line the helicopter passed us, as you can see in the picture.

After this fantastic experience we thanked everyone and returned to the STAY gallery where Sasha (who helped arrange the events and sleeping accommodations in Downey) had organised a Mexican BBQ with salsa music outside the gallery. There we could brag about our day to the team while enjoying great food, music and beer.

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