Baldwin High School students were able to take to the skies during lunchtime Friday.
Well, sort of.
In an attempt to drum up interest in some exciting new learning opportunities, BHS partnered with flight school Faithful Guardian Aviation who brought its own flight simulator to the cafeteria so kids could try their hands at landing a plane or drone.
The high school has been trying to add an unmanned aircraft (drone) program going back at least three years now, but has been unable to find an instructor. That’s where Faithful Guardian Aviation comes in. The flight school has two campuses, one in Atlanta and for the last nine months another based locally out of the Baldwin County Regional Airport.
“We’re trying to implement an aviation program here in the high school where students will actually be able to graduate with their pilot’s license,” Faithful Guardian Director of Aviation Lyndon Lamott said. “We’re talking about implementing a drone program in conjunction with the airplane program where the students learn theory in school. With parents’ permission they can take flight training right there at the Baldwin County Airport.”
As long as interest is significant enough, Baldwin High students could in the fall begin taking airplane or drone flight classes that may put them on track to lucrative careers soon after graduation. Faithful Guardian Aviation is affiliated with Liberty University, so students enrolled in the flight courses would be dually-enrolled at Liberty and earn college credit while still in high school.
“We’re just trying to get the kids interested in the program,” Lamott added. “I think high school is that perfect age to get kids exploring all different avenues so that when they graduate they can make an informed decision as to where they want to take their careers.”
While the high school is currently still gauging interest, Friday’s event with the simulators certainly seemed to be doing the trick. The machine was what Lamott called a 141 simulator, a system that is certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) where trainees are able to log actual flight time as they work towards their licenses. Students lined up to take turns sitting in the cockpit where they tried to bring their plane down safely onto the runway. They had a little help as first-timers, but many got their wheels down as intended.
The airplane pilot job prospects pretty well speak for themselves, and drone flight careers have been on the rise as the technology has become more widely available over the last decade. Drone flight applications have grown past the military to include realms like photography/videography services and even land surveying.