The city of Akron sewer truck with the giant vacuum intrigued the students at Case elementary school during “Big Truck Day” on Thursday.
They thought the Summit County bomb squad truck was pretty cool, too.
But no vehicle could trump the arrival of Akron Children’s Hospital’s “Air Bear” medical helicopter, which circled the school and touched down on an impromptu landing zone in the field.
“It was an amazing, surreal moment,” said special education teacher Craig Sampsell, who helped organize the event.
He had not wanted to get the kids’ hopes up in case Air Bear was called away to an emergency, so he kept it a secret.
“When the kids heard it, they knew what was up and they got to look out the windows and my class got to come out and watch the helicopter come in and it was just amazing,” Sampsell said.
He and Sharon Connor, who works in several district buildings, organized the big truck day to introduce students to careers that require math and science.
They sent out letters to everyone they could think of who might use an interesting vehicle.
Akron Children’s Hospital offered an ambulance.
“And then they said, ‘but we also have a helicopter. Would you like a helicopter? Basically I said, ‘You have to ask that question? Who says no to a helicopter?’ ” Sampsell said.
The hospital sent the specifications for a landing zone. He and some students did some quick math and measurements and marked off the zone in a big field behind the school Thursday morning.
The students got to sit in the helicopter and put on the headphones.
They also asked a lot of questions about the different vehicles, which included a ladder truck, a city bus and a police cruiser, and about the jobs of the people who used them.
“At the end of the day, one of the young kids said “thanks Mr. Sampsell for getting us out of math and science class and I said, ‘that was math and science’ and they looked at me like, what are you talking about?”
He asked them how much the heaviest truck weighed, which was 30,000 pounds.
He asked how many tons that was and they said 15.
“I said, ‘well, there you go. You’re telling me you didn’t have math today?’ ” Sampsell said.