Capt. Chris Scott, with Huntsville International Airport's Public Safety Dept., makes Devancy Jefferson, from Butler, an honorary captain after he got into his turn-out gear during a tour of facilities and aircraft at Huntsville International Airport Friday, April 25, 2014 in Huntsville, Ala. The tour is part of an educational program to give students a chance the see career opportunities in aviation, ranging from 747 pilot to fire and public safety. (Eric Schultz / firstname.lastname@example.org)
(AOL.com) – Butler High School AFJROTC cadets got a closer look at the world of aviation on a school field trip last Friday.
Cadets got to tour the Alabama Aviation Center at Calhoun Community College, the Huntsville International Airport, FAA facilities, a 747 aircraft and operate a flight simulator at the Wings of Eagles flight school through a program sponsored by FlyQuest, a non-profit corporation focused on aviation education.
FlyQuest Co-founder Mark Spencer knows airplane training can be expensive, but wants to get as many people involved in aviation as possible and get students thinking about careers surrounding aviation. The organization provides a 14-week school course where students learn aviation fundamentals and get introduced to aviation careers in public safety, aircraft mechanics and more.
"Even if someone dosen't want to be a pilot but they have good customer service kinds of skills or they have good math skills, we want to find the kids that have that aptitude and give them the opportunity to be able to have a career in aviation to help pave that path regardless of their economic background," Spencer said.
With the hands-on opportunities the course provides, AFJROTC Instructor Melissa Lacey gets to see her students more engaged with what they're learning in the classroom.
“Freshman Javier Garcia says he now has dreams of becoming a pilot after discovering the course on a whim. Junior Brandon Crutcher wants pursue a career aerospace engineering following his time in the class. Most of the students within the program have never taken a flight or been inside of an airplane before the course.
"It's making a difference," Lacey said. "It does motivate some students to go back and talk about it. When they go back and tell their friends what they've done, all of them want to be in ROTC."
Russ Lewey, ground school instructor for the course, said all students have averaged at least four hours of community service a month in exchange for the chance to get to learn about flying.
The course comes at no cost to students, but they pay for the instruction with their time.
"We want to know they feel invested that they're going to complete what they're doing," Spencer said.
At the end of the course, students will get an opportunity to fly in an airplane at the Redstone Arsenal Flying Activity Open House on May 17.Back to News