Tara Samuels, otherwise known as Captain Safetypants, invites all the youngsters as young as age seven, with parent in tow, to meet her while she conducts a ground school, walk-around, and cockpit orientation at the upcoming Wings Wheels & Waves open house scheduled, March 7, on the Lake Havasu City Municipal Airport tarmac from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is a $2 parking charge at the event with proceeds going to the local non-profit Initiative for Growth Foundation. Admission in event is free. Born in Israel, Samuels has lived in the United States since age eight and holds dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship. She holds an MBA in marketing and finance, and she’s a member of the 99s, the women’s flying organization founded in 1929. She holds a black belt in Tae Kwan Do and says she’s a scientist at heart. It took Samuels another decade after graduate school to scrape together the money to take flight lessons, and today, she is a rated pilot and lieutenant in the California Civil Air Patrol. She’s adopted the persona of Captain Safetypants where she has worked with more than 1,000 youngsters to date, simplifying the world of aeronautics and avionics. She hopes kids will develop a lifelong love for science, technology, and math. “I find that kids roughly seven and up will understand everything,” she says. “They literally understand it and they are absolutely fascinated. From the basics, we get inside the airplane, sit in the cockpit, and talk about what the yoke does. Once they understand how the controls work and operate, we talk about how to move them on the inside and then we look at the instrument panel and talk about that.” A tour outside the aircraft follows, where kids point and ask questions. “We do a little hunt for the fuel, and they absolutely love it when I dump fuel out of the wing, they are absolutely amazed that there’s fuel up there.” The kids smell the fuel, put their fingers in it, and observe how quickly it evaporates. Then, Captain Safetypants uses a plastic model plane to simulate taxiing, talking with the tower, takeoff, how beautiful the earth is below and the sky is above, talking with air traffic control, looking at maps, and then returning to land at the airport. Wings, Wheels & Waves will also feature the annual Big Boys Toys event, as well as a vintage combat-tested B-25 Mitchell that flew 15 missions over Italy in World War II. This Commemorative Air Force bomber is the same type of aircraft that Col. Jimmy Doolittle flew when he commanded 16 B-25s in the famed Doolittle Raid over Japan in early 1942, shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Inside the terminal, in a smaller venue, there will be presentations by the Civil Air Patrol, on the Doolittle Raid, and on military academies with an emphasis this year on recognizing Vietnam Veterans. There will also be hot wheels, vintage cars and hot boats on display, as well as a beer garden and lots of food. For more information, contact the Lake Havasu City Municipal Airport Operations, 928-764-3330. Address: 5600 North Hwy. 95, Lake Havasu City, seven miles north of the London Bridge.
Photo of Captain Safetypants, Tara Samuels