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Reno Air Racing Foundation’s next Pathways to Aviation event welcomes CEO of the Perlan Project to speak about unique sailplane initiative


Program series features special guest speakers to engage students and enthusiasts in aviation and aeronautics

The Reno Air Racing Foundation (RARF) is pleased to host the next seminar in the Pathways to Aviation series. The event will feature Ed Warnock, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Perlan Project and Paul McFarlane, lead flight director at the Challenger Learning Center, as they share their passion and educate students and enthusiasts about the world of flight. The event is on Wednesday, April 11 beginning with light refreshments at 6 p.m.in the Great Room on the fourth floor of the Joe Crowley Student Union followed by the speaking program at 7:00 p.m. in the theatre located on the third floor at the University of Nevada, Reno.

“Educating our youth about the important role aeronautics and aviation play in the successes our country has had in regard to science and technological advancement is vital,” said Steve Carrick, Chairman for the Reno Air Racing Foundation (RARF). “The Perlan Project is a unique venture which explores a different side of flight and how it can be a tool for discovery and help us better understand the world we live in.”

Recognizing the important contributions of RARF and its Pathways to Aviation program, Washoe County supports the program and its positive impact on northern Nevada. According to a recently presented resolution from the county, introducing the Perlan Project to students and community members will advance the science of aviation, widen the doors to education and inspire local youth to careers and opportunities in aviation.

CEO of the Perlan Project, Ed Warnock earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering and a master’s degree in systems theory. His extensive educational background led him to work at the Naval Weapons Center in China Lake, Calif., where he experienced his first glider ride. Soon thereafter, Warnock became a pilot and mechanic with a nonprofit organization that provides technical support service known as the Jungle Aviation and Radio Service (JAARS). His love for aviation sparked his interest in the Perlan Project and contributed to the active role he has on the team. The Perlan Project consists of three phases, each of which accomplishes a different goal.  Currently, the Perlan Project is focusing its efforts on phase two; to soar 90,000 feet using stratospheric mountain waves and the Polar Vortex. The pressurized, high-altitude glider is designed to study the role of polar vortex winds and the role they play in ozone depletion and global weather patterns. The team will attempt to complete phase two in El Calafete, Argentina in August 2013.

Pathways to Aviation will also host lead flight director for the Challenger Learning Center, Paul McFarlane. For nearly 20 years, McFarlane has dedicated himself to educating K-12 and post-secondary students. Through his diverse training course, McFarlane helps students experience aviation and aeronautics and get them excited about what it has to offer. Selected as Outstanding Teacher and Senior Scholar for the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Nevada, Reno, McFarlane is also a recipient of the Herz Gold Medal and Best of Education award from the Reno Gazette-Journal. Currently, McFarlane serves as the Vice President of the Reno Film Festival.

The Pathways to Aviation program was created to ignite the interest of students and community members in the world of aeronautics and aviation. After receiving a grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, RARF partnered with the University of Nevada, Reno to develop and establish the program. The April 11 program is sponsored by Sierra Nevada Corporation, a locally headquartered, and nationally recognized, company known for its rapid, innovative and agile technology solutions in electronics, aerospace, avionic, space propulsion, micro-satellite, aircraft, communications systems and solar energy.

Refreshments will be served beginning at 6 p.m. and the program will be held from 7 to 8 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public. To RSVP, please reply no later than Friday, April 6 to Audrey Goodnight at 682-6002 or [email protected].

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