Teaching Students to Rebuild a Plane, One Part at a Time

CVG Maintenance Manager Sasha Lazic is so passionate about aviation that for the fourth year in a row he used one week of his allotted paid time off to help students learn about the field.

Sasha volunteered his time to help with the Scout Aviation Maintenance Experience (SAME) Program in Oscoda, Michigan.

“Founded in 2019, the program provides summer scholarships to scouts to learn about aviation, and offers hands-on training to students,” said Sasha.

The program was started by Dr. Pete Mapes, a retired United States Air Force (USAF) colonel, chief flight surgeon and flight instructor, along with his wife Nona Mapes, also a retired USAF colonel. SAME is primarily funded through the generosity of Pete and Nona, which awards scholarships with a value of approximately $6,000 each.

Sasha Lazic, CVG Maintenance Manager, and the 2022 SAME participants.

During this summer’s program, aviation experts, including Sasha, provided students with hands-on experience in avionics, electronics, engine work and airplane maintenance over seven weeks at Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport (KOSC) in northeast Michigan.

This year, the program began on June 20 in a hangar in KOSC, where four scouts continued the rebuilding of a 1965 Cessna 150E airplane. Over the course of the summer, they disassembled and rebuilt an aircraft engine; installed aircraft systems including brakes, flight controls, fuel lines and aircraft electrical wiring, and learned commercial sewing to manufacture an aircraft interior.

Each week of the seven-week program is led by a different aviation expert. This year, Sasha led week six and taught students to install landing gear and install and rig flight controls.

“Our week-long goal, which we achieved, was to replace all flight control cables and install an engine mount.”  The Cessna 150E is being equipped with a supplemental Type Certificate increasing engine horsepower from 100 to 150.

“It’s important to show these future aviators how the planes work from the inside out,” said Sasha. “Today’s planes are all electronic, but the aircraft we work on during this program are much older planes and more manual. The students can move parts and visualize how everything works together. They did an amazing job of accomplishing the goals we set out for them.”

The aircraft each take two to three summers to finish.  When they are done, Dr. Mapes takes each scout up in the air to fly the very airplane they successfully rebuilt.

“We want to see kids succeed and show them all different areas of aviation,” said Sasha. “The goal is for them to enjoy the program and hopefully, one day, to find a career in the field.”