Imagine a high school that takes Fridays off and includes flight training as part of the curriculum. That’s reality for some 300 Albuquerque students at the new Southwest Aeronautics, Mathematics & Science Academy (SAMS) located at Double Eagle II Airport, according to a report at AOPA.org. The charter school, located in the building that once housed the Eclipse Aviation jet training center, held a grand opening Aug. 4 as the staff readied the facility for the first group of students.
As Lee Lauderback taxied to the Warbird Ramp on opening day of this year’s SUN ’n FUN, a group of students immediately began pointing at his P-51 “Crazy Horse” and waving to him. He waved back with a big smile on his face. It’s a reaction he’s used to getting.
“Everybody recognizes the P-51,” he said. “It’s an amazing airplane.”
And even after 25 years of heading up Stallion 51, his company at Kissimmee Gateway Airport (ISM) in Florida that offers training and rides in the P-51, Lauderback is still that 10-year-old boy who saw Bob Hoover flying a P-51. “I thought, ‘wow, that is so cool,’” he remembered. “I am truly blessed to get to fly one every day.”
And he shares that blessing with his customers, who travel from all over the world for the chance to fly — not just ride — in a Mustang.
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association has added the Jimmie Allen Flying Club Flight Training Scholarship as the fourth award to its Flight Training Scholarship Program. The new scholarship, donated by AOPA member Sarah Wilson who pilots the 1929 Jimmie Allen Stearman Speedmail, will award $5,000 to a student pilot working towards an initial sport, recreational, or private pilot certificate.
Lewis University flight instructor and 2010 alumnus Leif Holmstrand recently returned from launching the aviation dreams of 15 high school students enrolled in the Legacy Flight Academy in Tuskegee, Ala. The two-week program was held at Moton Field, Ala., the initial flight training location for the Tuskegee Airman.
Black Sky Training will begin offering a specialized series of courses for general aviation pilots. Psychological training, including recognizing and reacting to hypoxia, will be given in one of the only privately owned and operated hypoberic chambers in the U.S.
Swiss watch manufacturer Breitling is congratulating Facebook photo contest winner Jeremy P. Hampton from Overland Park, Kansas, on completing his 11-month training program necessary to officially receive his pilot’s license, the grand prize for the contest the company sponsored just over one year ago.
Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport may not be a name that trips off the tongue particularly well. But maybe it should be. Because word has leaked out of the high security vault in that corner of the Florida panhandle that going back to school is going to be a whole heck of a lot more interesting for a bunch of high school students this year – thanks to a company named Island Air Express and a guy named Ron Jarmon.
Several recent, seemingly unrelated reports pose issues in our hopes for a new generation of pilots. Boeing’s July announcement that half a million airline pilots will be needed worldwide by 2031 made big news. But many of us have heard such news before. And this time, there are new caveats and wrinkles.
One that caught my eye was a Frontier Group study “Transportation and the New Generation” cited in MOTOR TREND. It said the share of 14- to 34-year-olds without a driver’s license was up to 26% in 2010 from 21% in 2000. MOTOR TREND worries that young people are weaning themselves from cars and driving. Compared to the mechanically minded “motorhead” generations of yore, this could be more than just a trend toward big-city mass transit or close-in suburban living. At the least, it’s a symptom of generational poor incomes and gas prices that affect flying and flight training, too.