Paul Kaup

I am a pilot (Captain) for Southwest Airlines. I currently hold an ATP rating in Boeing 737, BE-1900D and D-328jet. I am a space, and technology enthusiast. I have over 23000 hours of flight time as a pilot of many different types of airplanes. I have a UAV/UAS remote pilot certificate issued by the FAA. I am an AMA member with over 11 years of R/C flying experience and I am a member of the Arizona Model Aviators.. I am an AMA "Contest Director", and instructor pilot.  I have several years of small model rocketry experience. I am a member of NAR and SARA. I am level 2 certified in  High Power Rocketry.  I have an amateur radio license. I have conducted over 30 missions to near space with weather balloons. I have coached 6 years of Robotics as a First Lego League coach, and I am currently coaching a First Technical Challenge team.  I coach TARC (The American Rocketry Challenge) and I coach UAS4STEM.  In August of 2020, my team of students from Richmond Burton High School received recognition from Guinness Book World Records for having achieved the worlds record for "Highest Remotely Controlled Airplane (38,400ft).  I received the President's Award for my work with the students from Southwest Airline in 2016.  I was recognized by Spirit Magazine as Southwest employee of the month also for my work with students.  As of Feb of 2021,  I am currently working on the following projects with students in middle and high school.


Taking Flight 2020 (Canceled due to Covid-19)

Taking Flight 2021


The American Rocketry Challenge

Level 1 rocket certification with the students.

Work on my Level 3 rocketry certification.

Solar power RC airplane "Project Soare".

Launch an 84" tall model Falcon 9 and land the first stage back at the launch pad.

Lead the first group of High School Students to send a rocket to space.  

Develop the STEM+C Learning Center


I have been working with students in middle school, high school, and college. I started working with students in 5th grade several years ago in the Spring Grove Elementary School, Richmond Grade School, and Nippersink Middle School through a Southwest Airlines sponsored event called Adopt-A-Pilot. I have taken the program to a whole new level. In my first 2 years I became aware of the lack of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, +C) within our kids curriculum. I included "+C" because I feel creativity is as important as the other 4 areas. I aspire to elevate our students' grasp of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. As much as I value those subjects, I also value art and creativity. That's why I call my little company STEM+C. The C stands for creativity. I think artists, engineers, scientists, musicians, writers, and performers all share the same basic artistic, creative part of our brains. Each one of those professions uses the creative part of their brain for a different discipline or interest. The creative part of my brain likes to inspire the next generation through hands-on learning projects like "Project Blackbird". I don't know what form this project will ultimately become....we will let it simply evolve. But the goal of the project is to bring real life project-based learning experiences to our kids. To get them excited about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.  In February of 2019, our students won first place at "The Chandler Science Spectacular".



I am married to a perfect wife, with 3 kids of my own. I worked my way up the ladder at Southwest Airlines where I started with the company back in 1992 as a baggage handler. I am truly fortunate to work for Southwest airlines.  My career allows me the time to do these kinds of projects with the kids.  It also affords me the time to try to broaden the scope of this project and reach out as far across America with the intent of giving every kid in the United States the opportunity to take part in these types of projects. I was also featured in the April 2013 Spirit is a link to the article.


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