The Physics of Flying a Jet

with Capt. Ariel Knepper and Jessica Noffsinger


Chat Transcript


Join US Air Force Pilot Captain Ariel Knepper in a discussion about the physics of flying a F-35 jet and how much STEM has played a part in her career. We will also be joined by Jess Noffsinger from the USA Science and Engineering Festival to look at their library of free NGSS/CASEL aligned lessons you can use including one featuring Captain Knepper.


Captain Ariel Knepper Flight Commander United States Air Force

Capt. Ariel Knepper is currently a Flight Commander in the 356th Fighter Squadron at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.  She is a worldwide deployable, combat-mission ready F-35A pilot, employing a $67 million Air Force fighter asset in support of U.S. Indo-Pacific Operations.  She executes day and night 5th generation strategic attacks including Air Interdiction, Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses and Defensive Counter Air.

Capt. Knepper was commissioned in 2015 from San Diego State University with a bachelor’s degree in biology.  She flew the F-16 fighter jet in Kunsan Air Base, South Korea before transferring to the F-35 fighter jet. 

Capt. Knepper is a pilot with more than 800 flying hours. 


Jessica Noffsinger Teacher, Curriculum Writer

Jessica Noffsinger has been an educator for 23 years and has spent the past 13 years teaching science and engineering at the STEM Magnet Lab School in Northglenn, CO. Creating learning experiences that are engaging and thought-provoking is Jessica’s specialty. Students in her classroom have engaged in several problem-based learning activities that have challenged students to use their understanding of scientific concepts to solve problems, ranging from replacing fluorescent lights in the classroom to landing 40,000 kilograms of cargo on Mars. Jessica also sponsors a variety of extracurricular activities and serves on numerous school, district, and state level committees. She was the 2015 Recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching for secondary science and was a member of the 2021 Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms Program.

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