High school students can learn to fly

virginia space grant consortiumDo you have dreams of one day becoming a commercial airline pilot and traveling the world?  The Virginia Space Grant Consortium (VSGC), in partnership with the Commonwealth of Virginia, Liberty University, Averett University and the Virginia Department of Aviation, is offering flight academies at no cost for high school students statewide.

The Pathways Flight Academies will immerse students in learning to fly while discovering the range of exciting aviation career opportunities available.  Four, two-week residential academies will be offered during the summer of 2019 for selected students who have shown an interest in and passion for Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math (STEM), and have career aspirations to become a pilot.  Students admitted to this intensive program will undertake ground school and flight training that can culminate in their first solo flight at the end of the academy!

Funded by the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Pathways Flight Academies will be rigorous programs in which students immerse themselves in learning about weather, electronic navigation, flight systems and operations, and FAA regulations.  The competitive application process is open to students statewide.  Qualified applicants must be U.S. citizens, Virginia residents and 16 years old by the start of the Academy.  They must also be able to pass an FAA flight physical exam upon acceptance into the program.  Twenty-four students will be selected.

The demand for aviation jobs is extremely high.  Sixty thousand new U.S. pilots will be needed in the next 15 years as well as 10,000 new U.S. air traffic controllers and 480,000 new aviation maintenance technicians worldwide by 2026.  “The support for Pathways Flight Academies is an indication of the State’s understanding of the importance of Virginia’s aviation sector and its critical workforce needs,” notes VSGC Director, Mary Sandy.

VSGC is pleased to be partnering with two outstanding Virginia flight training schools for this program.  Both Averett and Liberty universities have outstanding facilities for aviation education and flight training, and operate FAA-Approved part 141 flight schools.

“We are excited to train young high school students because aviation training started early can be key to their success in the future,” says Katie Wagner, Associate Director of Flight Operations, Liberty University.  “This solo flight academy program will provide a great opportunity for high school students to jumpstart their careers.”

“Averett is honored to participate with the Virginia Space Grant Consortium and Liberty University in this flight academy,” notes Charles Harris, Executive Vice President, Averett University.  “Having the opportunity to offer a career pathway program for aspiring pilots who are Virginia residents is consistent with our mission and values, and we are pleased to be inaugural partners in this exciting new academy.”

The application deadline is January 25, 2019.  Learn more about the Pathways Flight Academies and the application process at http://www.vsgc.odu.edu/pathwaysflightacademies.

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