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Graduating Flying Aggies Seniors
Pictured from left to right with their corresponding plane: Dillon Lain: Boeing 747SP, Miles Turner: P-47D Thunderbolt, Max Maroney: Vought Hiller XC-142A, Spencer Franklin: C-119 Flying Boxcar, Paulo Claudio: Vickers VC10, Benny Miller: Northrup XB-35 and Northrup YB-49 Flying Wings, Clifton Durante: Airbus A350-900

A Hand-Crafted Farewell for Flight Team Seniors

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Seven members of the OSU Flying Aggies Flight Team will graduate next month and Dr. Matt Vance, flight team coach and assistant professor in aviation, made sure his students leave Stillwater with a unique keepsake. On April 14, he gifted seniors with hand-made paper airplanes, specially designed and individually crafted to match their personalities.

“I watch, learn and listen so I can match each airplane with the personality of the student,” says Vance. “Making paper airplanes has been a hobby of mine for many years, but it’s much more enjoyable when you can make someone happy with it. “

The seniors were invited to Vance’s home for a special breakfast and then presented with their paper airplanes. Before the gifts were handed out, Vance asked the group if they could correctly identify which plane was meant for which student, and occasionally they nailed it.

Vance has carried out this tradition for the past three years to honor the graduating seniors and their contribution to the flight team. On average, it takes him eight hours to complete one airplane. This year, he began the project around Christmas.

“While I’m presenting the planes, I like to give a brief personal reflection of each student to highlight their personality and character traits and talk about why I chose that particular plane for them,” says Vance.  “Just like humans, every aircraft has a personality.”

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