Inspiration Through Aviation

    Since 2000, The Tom Wathen Center has offered a growing number of programs using "Inspiration through Aviation" to encourage STEM learning. 

  • Science taught through Real-World applications

  • Technology activities used to enhance learning

  • Engineering skills gained through hands-on experiences

  • Math taught from an aviation perspective



Young Eagles Flights

The Young Eagles flight program was launched in 1992 to give interested young people ages 8 through 17 the opportunity to enjoy the thrill of flying in a general aviation airplane.  The Tom Wathen Center supports Flabob Airport’s EAA Chapter One in providing free airplane rides made possible through the generosity of EAA member volunteers.


EAA Chapter One has a vibrant Young Eagles program where our dedicated volunteers educate and fly up to 50 new Young Eagles per month at Flabob Airport in Riverside (County) CA. Children learn the basics of flight, take a pre-flight check of an airplane and then it's time to take to the sky and view the Earth from a totally different perspective!
Reservations required. If you would like to arrange for your child or children to take their first flight in an airplane, you may e-mail Chapter One or call (951) 847-5474. To date, we have flown 15,000 Young eagles.
Whether a volunteer or prospective Young Eagle, you're in for the experience of a lifetime!



This program is available for students 14 & 1/2 years or older. In these restoration projects, small groups of students under close and expert adult supervision have fun and learn restoration skills. The group meets on Saturday mornings. 


Build-A-Plane gives students a chance to learn about building, repair and restoration of aircraft,with hopes of them becoming involved in aviation. Sanding, varnishing, rib stitching, painting, and every other aspect of restoration are skills taught to the students. Time spent in the building project is documented and can be applied to A & P (Airframe and Power Plant Mechanic) training. The Center sees this program to be a positive way to inspire youth using aviation to empower young people. Through aviation, they learn responsibility, leadership, planning, and teamwork. Check out the current group of Build-A-Plane kids here.


Youth Opportunity Program

Certified instructors work hand in hand with misguided and disadvantaged youth Students are taught basic structural repair, fabric covering prep and paint. Two programs of this nature are available; auto-body and aircraft restoration.


This program is in conjunction with the Youth Opportunity Center in Rubidoux and requires additional interview process. For more information please contact Hualdo Mendoza email:


New Rocketry Program

The Tom Wathen Center has built a rocket lab to help students learn about solid and liquid engine powered rockets. Click 'additional information to read more:


Students at the University of California Riverside have formed the Aerospace Systems Organization to learn and train in the field of rocketry. The rocket lab is available to student groups of all ages interested in this field. The Tom Wathen Center (TWC) and the Friends of Amateur Rocketry (FAR) are working together to help students learn about projects listed below: 1. Two prototype liquid rockets are being built as test examples for a 50 rocket project. This kit rocket will be a liquid oxygen/alcohol powered 13 foot vehicle with 500 pounds of thrust. The TWC and FAR have teamed up on this project. 2. The TWC and FAR are also working to develop a liquid and solid rocket engine test cell to be located at Flabob. Currently, students travel to the FAR rocket launching facility located between Mojave and Inyokern for testing. A test facility would give local student rocketry groups more time to learn and experiment. Students can also learn about beginning rocketry at TWC Air Academies and field trips to Flabob.

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This program geared for middle and high school students provides a broad introduction to aviation science including weather, navigation, and the principals of flight.  Programs include a number of hands-on activities and 3 day Air Academy culminates an EAA Chapter One Young Eagles airplane flight.


Hands on learning, workshops, & avaition 101. Perfect for middle school and high school students. Flabob Air Academy is Now Enrolling and accepting students. Register as soon as possible and email Nina: