Visit SpaceCampUtah.org to learn more about the Space Education Centers in Utah. Visit SpaceGuard.org and ProjectVoyager.org for information on joining a simulator based school space and science club.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Semi-Secret Society of Flight Directors Meets at Farpoint to Discuss the Art and Science of Flight Directing. Isaac Ostler Takes Second Place at State. Flight Directors Hard at Work. The Daymonts at FanX. Theater Imaginarium.


     The Semi-Secret Society of Flight Directors has its first bi-monthly conclave Thursday, March 23 at the Farpoint Space Education Center headquarter in room 204 (my classroom) at Renaissance Academy in beautiful Lehi, Utah.  
     We call our association Semi-Secret because of the nature of flight directing itself. Most everyone who undertakes a mission in one of our simulators is aware of the 'person' behind the wall. They may even recognize the chief engineer's voice over the ship's speakers as the same person who prepped them for their mission. Yet in the magical world of the simulation, they 'don't' know.  Am I making myself clear?  
     Even when confronted by a crewmember, "Hey I recognize your voice. That was you talking to us during the mission," the flight director will feign ignorance and tell the young camper that he doesn't know what the poor delusional child is babbling about.  To put it another way, the professional flight director is like the great Wizard of Oz. He or she is required to keep his existence as secret as possible, staying securely sequestered behind her curtain, manning his levels, counter levers, switches, dials, smoke machines, computers, media players, etc.  
     We are truly a "Semi-Secret Society".    



     These somewhat anonymous Flight Directors got a behind the scenes look at the USS Voyager's Control Room from fellow Wizards and Farpoint employees Maeson Busk and Alex DeBirk.  Missing was the Voyager's Asst. Director Isaac Ostler, who was excused for a very important Skills Utah EMT competition being held at the same time.



     Maeson and Alex demonstrated the Voyager's technology. There were questions and a whole lot of curiosities to examine. You could tell it was a gathering of flight directors by their sophistication in snooping around for a new idea or two to take back to their own ships.  I reminded them that snooping wasn't needed. The Society was an organization for sharing, cooperation, and mutual support. 



     Present were flight directors from the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center, InfiniD, Lakeview Space Education Center, the Telos Discovery Space Centers, and of course Farpoint. Also present was Casey Voeks from InfiniD and Megan Warner, general manager of the Telos Discovery Space Centers. Many of our brothers and sisters sent their apologies for not attending due to scheduling conflicts.  Several other flight directors were busy with flights - strangely enough. My apologies were given for failing to schedule the conclave with enough advance notice. I committed to schedule the next meeting far in advance so time off could be requested.     

The Flight Directors were fascinated with the Voyager's automatic brig activation system.  A quick pass of a chip card and the brig lights activated and de-activated accompanied by the appropriate sound effect

     The Semi-Secret Society of Flight Director's mission is to promote flight directing as a profession. We celebrate all forms and styles of flight directing, understanding that flight directing is as much an art as a science.  We will work to sponsor research into this type of experiential education with the hopes of creating a general knowledge base and statement of best practices from which all flight director training can spring.  We support each other through our conclaves where our members network and learn from each other. It's awesome to sit and hear stories from talented and dedicated flight directors. 
     This first meeting stressed the fact that we're all in this together. I spoke of the need to work together to guarantee quality in our missions. We are aware that one bad mission can reflect on the network of space centers as a whole.  Future meetings will be held at different space education centers including schools with InfiniD labs.  Learning first hand about the different centers will go a long way toward mutual understanding and cooperation. 
     If you're a current flight director at any space education center or InfiniD school and could not attend Thursday's gathering please contact me, director@spacecamputah.org,  to be put on my email list. 
     We hope you'll join us.  We're quite a talented group and boy, you should hear the stories we have to tell.

Mr. Williamson 
       
Isaac Ostler Takes Second in CPR and First Aid at Statewide Skills Utah Competition  


     Isaac is my right hand man and student director at Renaissance Academy's Farpoint Space Education Center. He is what I call a simulator whisperer.  The USS Voyager responds to his voice, never mine. Isaac also works as a Magellan supervisor at the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center in Pleasant Grove.  You'll find him on the Magellan's bridge every Saturday afternoon.
     Isaac is talented in many areas. He's a good flight director. He's a good programmer. He is great with staff and volunteers. He is outstanding at tactical art. What I didn't know about Isaac was his skill in first aid and CPR.  Isaac is training to become an EMT and competed in a statewide Skills Utah competition in CPR and first aid on Thursday.  Isaac took second place out of 15 in the High School competition representing Lone Peak High School. 
     Congratulations Isaac on your achievement.  Now I know who to collapse in front of during a medical emergency!
 
Speaking of Flight Directing. Look at These Talented Flight Directors at Work at the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center Last Saturday

     I stopped by the second happiest place on earth on Saturday to deliver donuts and say hello to some of the greatest people I know - flight directors. Jon Parker, CMSEC assistant director, informed me that every ship was booked solidly all day. It was that way last Saturday as well.  These poor flight directors were swamped with crews all wanting to experience the magic of a simulated space edventure.  Here's a shout out to those hard working flight directors and the volunteers and supervisors who work beside them.    

Josh Anderson hard at work on his second Galileo mission of the day. 

Jordan Smith hard at work in the Phoenix Control Room. Notice these dedicated flight directors need to grab a quick bite
whenever the story gives them an opportunity. It's a classic eat while you work strategy for the busy flight director. It was the same when I was CMSEC director. 

Devin Sudwicks flight directing the Odyssey. He was neck deep in a five hour mission

Natalie, Audrey and Time Lord Mason in the Magellan Control Room
Jon Parker was flight directing the Magellan
His lunch sat beside him getting cold. He was in the thick of preparing for a battle scene. Lunch would have to wait
Flight Directors are very busy people wherever they work!

Dave and Melissa Daymont Spotted by YouTube at FanX 2017 in Salt Lake City

Dave Daymont with Wife Melissa at FanX 2017
     Dave and Melissa Daymont were two of thousands of sci-fi and fantasy fans attending the 2017 FanX in Salt Lake City.  Little did they know that they'd also appear in a FanX commercial YouTube video.  You'll find them at 1:01 in the clip.
     Dave was a long time Phoenix flight director at the CMSEC and a good friend of the Space Center.  He works as an Alpine School District IT tech covering four of the district's elementary schools.
     Dave tells me he runs into several Space Center folks at these gatherings. I guess it comes with the mindset.  FYI, I've never been to one of these, and while interested and inclined to do so, the masses of people, lines, screaming, and other displays of mass hysteria convinces me to politely refuse many kind invitations to do so.

Mr. W.   
       

Theater Imaginarium
The best gifs of the week edited for a general audience