Two UMKC professors fly above the metro, urging residents to vote with their flight path

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — If you needed a sign from above to convince you to vote, on Tuesday, one week before the general election, there was one. 

Two civil engineering professors at the University of Missouri-Kansas City took to the skies to encourage metro residents to head to the polls.

Mujahid Abdulrahim and Travis Fields, who are pilots as well as professors, have told UMKC student about the importance of voting all year. 

It was “part of our sort of democratic engagement initiative where we are trying to encourage the process of voting and engagement,” Abdulrahim said.

But a few weeks ago they decided to spell it out, and on Tuesday, the pilots took to the sky on a flight path that spelled out “vote.” 

For Abdulrahim, civic engagement isn’t something he takes for granted. 

“My family is originally Syrian, and that’s not a place where democratic engagement is really encouraged,” he said. “So to me, as a naturalized citizen, like this is amazing! We can actually have a say in our government.”

But instead of the pilots drawing the flight plan, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas drew four versions of the word “vote” and made a Twitter poll to let followers determine which one they would fly.

Style 1, a cursive font and the most difficult of the four, won by a landslide.

Fields said they did a pretty good job.

“The flight was great,” he said. “We had a good time. (There were) a couple of aggressive turns, but I think looking at our track we did a pretty good job of duplicating the mayor’s signature.”

Fields and Abdulrahim successfully copied the mayor’s cursive “vote,” but Tuesday night, Lucas is jumping into a simulator cockpit to see how well he can do. 

Abdulrahim thinks the mayor will pass with flying colors.

“You know I think he’s gonna do awesome,” he said. “I just think Mayor Lucas is going to be a phenomenal pilot first time.”

See Lucas’ results only on FOX4 News at 9 and 10 p.m.

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