Wingin’ It: Aviation Program Gives Students Hands On Experience With Airplanes
DESOTO—Recently students from the DeSoto High School aviation program got a an opportunity to put theory into practice.
On October 28, junior aviators took a field trip to the Arlington Municipal Airport, where they had the opportunity to utilize the knowledge and skills they have learned in the classroom.
Under the watchful eye of their instructor, students performed a full checklist inspection on a fully functioning airplane. They were provided with a checklist to inspect various parts and systems of the plane and provide feedback on areas that may need to be serviced.
After completing the checklist, the intention was to have students become familiar with engine start procedures. Students determined that the battery voltage was too low to start, after several failed attempts.
Eventually, the goal is to get the plane functioning before Christmas and to bring selected students participating in the district’s Gear Up program to the airport as a way to recruit for the high school aviation program.
Priming Future Pilots
With the combination of skyrocketing airfares, slumping post 9/11 demand and retirement regulations, the need for pilots will be massive.
Due to the Federal Aviation Administration mandated retirement age of 65; nationwide some 20,000 cockpit seats are estimated to become available.
Industry analysts expect, experienced regional pilots will move quickly up to the big leagues for significantly higher salaries. Affording college and flight school graduates access to the cockpits of regional jets.
There’s just one problem, despite the promise of available jobs too few students are opting for careers in the cockpit.
That’s why programs like the Aviation Program at DeSoto High School are so important. Hands on experiences like the one at Arlington Municipal Airport are preparing them for college opportunities, career preparation and advancement.
Regional airlines are already feeling the pinch. While many of their experienced flyers are going to major carriers they have been slow to fill new pilot training classes.
If this progresses some regional markets will have to park aircraft for lack of pilots. The impact might lead to some smaller U.S. cities losing their air service all together.
November is Aviation Appreciation Month
Governor Greg Abbott declared November 2016 “Aviation Appreciation Month.”
“Texas’ geography makes general aviation and local airports critical for businesses and communities to have access to important services to far-off markets, medical care, and other critical services,” said Selena Shilad, Executive Director of the Alliance for Aviation Across America. “We thank the Governor for issuing the proclamation and look forward to working with him in the future.”
In Texas, general aviation activities support an annual economic impact of over $14.5 billion.
An excerpt from his proclamation:
“The Texas aviation industry is critical to our economy and way of life. It brings families together; transports business executives to important meetings; delivers essential cargo; provides life-saving medical evacuation, police search and rescue, utility grid and oil pipeline inspections and border protection; and it helps to control pests that can wreak havoc on farmer’s crops.”