Black Hawk helicopter landing makes for 'awesome' spectacle at Glen Ellyn middle school

  • Seventh-grade students get a close look at an Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopter Wednesday at Glen Crest Middle School in Glen Ellyn.

      Seventh-grade students get a close look at an Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopter Wednesday at Glen Crest Middle School in Glen Ellyn. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Students get a look at an Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopter at Glen Crest Middle School.

      Students get a look at an Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopter at Glen Crest Middle School. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Gabe Gresham, a seventh-grader, checks out the inside of an Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopter at Glen Crest Middle School.

      Gabe Gresham, a seventh-grader, checks out the inside of an Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopter at Glen Crest Middle School. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Left to right, seventh-graders Omar Hernandez, Mukhabbat Alifova and Hannah Galvan, get a chance to sit in an Army National Guard Blackhawk helicopter Wednesday at Glen Crest Middle School in Glen Ellyn.

      Left to right, seventh-graders Omar Hernandez, Mukhabbat Alifova and Hannah Galvan, get a chance to sit in an Army National Guard Blackhawk helicopter Wednesday at Glen Crest Middle School in Glen Ellyn. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Students climb out of a MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected) military vehicle on display at Glen Crest Middle School in Glen Ellyn Wednesday. The vehicle is made by Navistar.

      Students climb out of a MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected) military vehicle on display at Glen Crest Middle School in Glen Ellyn Wednesday. The vehicle is made by Navistar. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

 
Daily Herald report
Updated 9/4/2019 4:21 PM

A Black Hawk helicopter landing at a Glen Ellyn middle school may have left teachers and administrators with one little problem: How are they going to top that?

The Illinois Army National Guard helicopter created a spectacle Wednesday on an athletic field at Glen Crest Middle School, surprising onlookers who underestimated its herculean size.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The landing was by no means a covert mission. District officials gave a heads-up to parents, police, firefighters and 911 dispatchers that the helicopter was actually flying in for an educational static display.

Sgt. 1st Class Luke Oleksak, one of the members of the Kankakee-based crew, happens to be a Glen Crest parent of two sons in sixth and seventh grades. Oleksak reached out to Assistant Principal John Batiste about bringing the helicopter to the school and giving students a rare close-up look at military aircraft.

"It was a pretty simple process, so we filled out the paperwork and they approved it," Batiste said.

Faculty in the social studies and science departments developed lessons tied to the landing, explaining, for instance, the history and engineering feat of flying the utility helicopter.

"We just thought it would be a great learning experience for both our students and staff to connect this day with an educational purpose," Batiste said.

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Another parent, who works at Navistar, also arranged to have a MRAP vehicle (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected) manufactured by the Lisle-based company roll up to the school's parking lot.

Students got to climb inside both the MRAP and the helicopter.

"This is pretty cool," Principal Kim Price said from inside the cockpit. "Awesome experience for our kids."

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