What a fantastic LEAP off the cliffs at the Torrey Pines Gliderport! The weather was fantastic, the wind was perfect and Robin Marien had his paraglider instructors dive bombing the press conference speakers on the podium! It was an intense week leading up to this moment. Actually it was an increasing intensity for three months leading up the LEAP Launch. And perhaps more accurately, three years since I dreamed up this project and and the Creative Solutions Alliance in search of a better way to light up kids. It really is the culmination of my work over the last decade in aviation, education and prize philanthropy and serves as a vehicle for creating powerful project based curriculum to deliver effective science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. After years of working with the X PRIZE Foundation I realized that I have been thoroughly indoctrinated into the mindset that problems are often opportunities ripe for solutions. Those solutions often come from out of left field so, it isn’t necessarily the experts that you need to turn to, but the people tinkering in their garage and thinking way outside of the box that come up with novel approaches to solving problems. Prize philanthropy (and LEAP specifically) is an incredible tool with which we can engage inventors and move the state of the electric aircraft industry forward – this is tremendously exciting to many of us in the aviation industry. Even more exciting to me is the opportunity to use LEAP to develop the education program and really give the next generation a high school indoctrination (sounds like propaganda doesn’t it?) into a solution making mindset. I think if we can integrate a solution mindset curriculum into mainstream education we can really engage kids and grow a grass roots base of problem solvers that will be good for the planet. Sounds grandiose, but this is my dream and I don’t want to aim for anything less. I’m not used to writing blogs, so it isn’t polished or well thought out, but hopefully will serve to get my thoughts and motivation down. I simply can’t believe all the folks that have helped us to get to this point. First of all my Mom, who has supported me at every step and provided the assistance needed to make this happen. Someday I hope I can pay her back and show her a great example of how I was able to create something powerful and good. Part of me feels proud and at the same time at a huge deficit… I have asked for a ton of favors, recruited and encouraged so many people to help this effort. There have been countless volunteer hours of work from the CSA board and many others. I look forward to watching the results of all of our efforts fly quietly into the sky aboard an electric aircraft in the future. I have even begged on Facebook for people to donate money using the excuse of my birthday to help with getting LEAP to launch. The response has been amazing! We raised $3,000 just from my Facebook birthday request and no one really knew that the prize was about electric aircraft or education. Some just said they believed in ME! That is a little frightening to think about. But this feels like my life’s work, and I couldn’t be more excited about where we are going. Our time down here in San Diego has been great, and thanks to Ted and Heidi Gildred who have made my visits here possible. I’ve been here so much lately, they’re starting to refer to me as their bastard nephew. Roger and Debi Behrendt have been treating me like family and the long discussions of physics and the energy density of batteries with Jim Lemke and Linden Blue has boosted my intelligence more than I thought possible. If you want to help and be a part of LEAP click here to donate and help make it happen. Ok, time to head down to the Gliderport again, strap on a paraglider, LEAP off the cliffs and soar… HOW TO HELP Help us teach the next generation to imagine and create their future. Click Donate to see the amazing premiums and help us launch the future of aviation and education. Donate ›

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