On your next Southwest Airlines flight, you won`t be asked to take a test,
but you might be asked to help grade a few papers. Celebrating its seventh
year, Southwest`s Adopt- A-Pilot program has successfully enhanced both
educational activities for thousands of students and community relations
for the airline.
The award-winning Adopt-A-Pilot program includes creative teaching tools
and fun classroom activities, enabling Southwest Airlines Pilots to
personally connect with more than 18,000 fifth-grade students across the
country. This year, the free educational program is also offered in
Spanish, providing translated curriculum and bilingual Pilots to mentor
classes with students who speak Spanish as their primary language.
The Adopt-A-Pilot program incorporates educational activities and
curriculum for science, math, geography, writing, and other subjects to
help students discover more than just how an airplane flies. The community
relations program also demonstrates how education is critical in reaching
one`s personal goals. Adopt-A-Pilot has more than 450 Southwest Airlines
Pilots who volunteer for “adoption,” all going above and beyond to provide
fun classroom activities that also make learning fun.
Pilots might ask their plane full of passengers to write notes of
motivation and encouragement to their students. Some e-mail digital
snapshots of a toy as it travels with the Pilot to various U.S. cities,
including related geography questions as clues. During the four-week
mentorship program, Pilots volunteer their time in adoptive classrooms and
correspond from the “road” via e-mail and postcards. Classrooms chart the
Pilot`s course through an official U.S. route map, and the students record
daily flying statistics sent by their Pilot in the provided Adopt-A-Pilot
“We couldn`t be more impressed by the personal commitment of these
Southwest Airlines Pilots who want to make a difference. We hear from
teachers that many students have gained increased self-esteem and
determination for future careers as a result of the Adopt-A-Pilot
program,” says Greg Crum, vice president of flight operations for
Southwest Airlines. “At a time when all airlines are cost-conscious,
Southwest has continued to advocate and increase support for this
Also new this year, Adopt-A-Pilot students can log onto
http://www.southwest.com/adoptapilot and take a virtual tour of a Boeing
737 cockpit, “visit” Southwest`s headquarters in Dallas, Texas, and view
streaming video segments that describe aviation careers.
Reinforcing its school-to-career theme, Adopt-A-Pilot includes a national
contest—“What`s Your Destination?”—where classes are invited to
script, direct, perform, and produce their own three-minute video
depicting careers each student hopes to one day pursue. The winning class
will earn an educational field trip to a nearby Southwest destination.
Since it began in 1997, the Adopt-A-Pilot program has reached more than
65,000 students in communities from coast-to-coast. Southwest Airlines
originally developed the Adopt-A-Pilot program in cooperation with the
U.S. Department of Education, America`s Promise, the Smithsonian
Institute`s National Air and Space Museum, and others in response to the
need for community involvement in schools. National leaders such as
Secretary of State Colin Powell, former President Bill Clinton, and First
Lady Laura Bush have recognized the community relations program.
The nation`s largest carrier in terms of domestic Customer boardings,
(through September 2003 - the latest data available), Southwest Airlines
serves 59 airports in 58 cities in 30 states. The airline currently has
more than 4,000 Pilots and operates nearly 2,800 flights a day.