TriStar to convert Lockheed jumbo jet into STEM education lab

Hoping to spark children’s early interest in careers in science, technology, engineering and math, the Kansas City nonprofit TriStar Experience is preserving a jumbo jet for interactive STEM field trips.

The Lockheed L-1011 jumbo jet flew from Tucson, Ariz., to Kansas City International Airport on Saturday evening. Phil Liming, TriStar educational program director, said their “namesake aircraft” will stay at KCI and be converted into an interactive lab for children across the region.

“Imagine several busloads of kids show up, board the aircraft and the whole STEM program can take place on board,” Liming said. “There’s cabin compartments that are fully open to do fun science experiments and activities.”

TriStar Experience is tailoring the jet field trips to Kansas and Missouri education standards, Liming said, and the field trip partnerships will be accessible to all schools.

“We understand that 10 or 15 dollars per kid for a field trip is standard, so we expect it to be somewhere in that range,” Liming said. “We’re applying for grants so we can use those funds to subsidize disadvantaged schools if they can’t afford that fee.”

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