Clinton Magazine Summer 2022 | Page 7

reaching new heights
Elijah and his father a tour of the airport , located approximately 6 miles southwest of Clinton . Originally built in the 1940s and bought thereafter by the city of Clinton , the 556-acre airport now includes a new terminal building that contains a waiting area , two lounges , flight-planning facilities , and conference room that was completed at a cost of $ 1.7 million in December 2014 , in addition to a new 10,000-square-foot hangar for private jet storage .
Elijah was able to check out these most recent developments at the airport , but what he really wanted to see was the layout of its lighting in order to get a better idea of how he wanted to design his own upcoming development for the Design Challenge . Nass , always willing to show off the airport to young people in support of their interests in aviation , willingly shared her expertise .
Minecraft , the video game designated to be used in the competition as a design program , utilizes a grid system on which Elijah would spend up to a few hours a day for the duration of the Challenge , building his airport re-creation on a Nintendo Switch with blocks that allowed him to construct his design 3 feet at a time .
As a perfectionist , he found it to be fun yet stressful . He still completed the design and all testing all on his own . Fencing was somewhat difficult to place in this particular game , and if he noticed he ’ d made a mistake , even if it took hours , he ’ d take the time to correct it . Jason credits his son ’ s perfectionism as one of the reasons he believes Elijah ultimately did so well in the competition .
His final design depicted detailed innovations , including a solar farm , a regional terminal , and a vertical take-off and landing aircraft pad . The design is missing one block , which still slightly bothers him .
Elijah was awarded third place on Feb . 17 during a school day .
“ When I got back to my classroom ,” he recalls , “ the lights were off in the room and when I came in , everybody jumped up and said congratulations , and then the whiteboard was just covered in compliments and congratulations .”
Elijah learned a lot during the challenge and plans to participate again next year , but this time will redesign Dubuque ’ s airport with the goal of winning higher than third place .
For more information on the FAA Airport Design Challenge , or to sign up for the competition , visit www . faa . gov . C

“ Elijah ’ s very curious and inquisitive . He ’ s a pretty deep thinker .”

- Jason Craft , Elijah ’ s father

Elijah Craft poses in front of an airplane at the Clinton Municipal Airport . Jenna Blount / Clinton Magazine
Summer 2022 Clinton Magazine 7