The number of students enrolled in the Chickasaw Nation Aviation and Space Academy more than doubled this year, as 82 students signed up for the summer camp.
The students, aged 10-18, belong to the Chickasaw Nation. During the camp, which is based in Ada, Okla., the future flyers are exposed to everything from launching rockets to studying the basics of space medicine.
Children are brought in from all over the Midwest and pick up skills in math, science and aviation during their five days of camp.
This year, the camp included a field trip to US Flight Academy at Denton Municipal Airport (DTO) in Texas, where all the students had the opportunity to experience a ground school class and fly in a Diamond DA-40. They were also given a tour of the DTO tower.
“There’s no substitute for the real thing,” said Mark Taylor, who coordinated the activities at the US Flight Academy. “When these kids take their first ride in an aircraft, their eyes light up like the sun. It’s obvious that some of them get that aviation bug in their blood with this first experience and we hope that some of them will become pilots. The enthusiasm is certainly there.”