The Socorro High School campus had a celebration of aviation with an Aviation Day event Monday to encourage student interest in aviation-related careers.<br>Cathy Cppl | El Defensor Chieftain

A helicopter touched down on the Socorro High School baseball field Monday, but not in response to any emergency. The helicopter pilot and paramedics were there to answer questions about aviation related careers to celebrate National Aviation Day.

The holiday was Aug. 19.

GEAR UP, a program focused on college and career readiness, hosted the Aviation Day events to inspire kids’ interest in different aviation related careers, like research and search and rescue, said program coordinator Kristen Griego.

The two-hour event included a New Mexico Tech drone professor, water balloon launches, presentations from Civil Air Patrol, stomp rockets and information on drone search and rescue.

Paramedics who work on the helicopter answered questions about what kind of qualifications it takes to work in emergency medicine.

Roland Dewing with Civil Air Patrol educated students on how gliders fly.

Dewing is the director of aerospace education for CAP. He’s also in charge of the glider program, which gives kids in CAP a chance to fly in a glider.

Mark Chappell, GIS specialist with the state Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, was there with drones, including one that offered thermal imaging.

“I think it’s a really good opportunity to show the public what is available from the emergency management side,” said Chappell.

Many people buy a drone and don’t know the rules and regulations that go with flying them, like that drones over 0.55 pounds need to be registered with the FAA.

The event was also meant to encourage kids to value education, since conducting experiments and sharing ideas made it possible to put humanity in the air in the first place, said Griego.