The Aspen Flight Academy in Aspen, Colorado, is launching “Every Student Flies,” which will provide a free flight lesson to every student at the Aspen Public High School.
That’s 556 students, according to officials.
Each student will be offered a free flight lesson with a CFI in a Diamond DA40. After the flight, students will be given a private tour of the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport’s Air Traffic Control tower, along with tours of aviation companies on the airfield.
An educational package will be offered to each student containing a wealth of information on higher education and career opportunities in all fields of aviation, including piloting, air traffic control, aircraft maintenance, airport management, and more, according to organizers.
Free flights are also being offered to the high school’s teachers and administrative staff, to enable them to share with their students the experience of flying in a small aircraft.
The Every Student Flies program was created by Captain Michael Pearce, a Boeing 777 pilot for American Airlines and President of the Aspen Flight Academy’s Board of Directors.
“We are excited to launch this one-of-a-kind program to offer every Aspen High School student the chance to experience flight and learn about careers in aviation,” he Pearce. “Our hope is that other public high schools across the country will be excited about our program and look into doing the same in their communities.”
Pearce worked with Diamond Aircraft CEO Scott McFadzean to craft a long-term purchase agreement. Two DA40-NG model aircraft will be provided to the Aspen Flight Academy every year for 10 years to support this program, ensuring the high school students are flying new aircraft. The 10-year agreement is valued at more than $11 million, officials said.
“Encouraging young talent in aviation is a cause we truly believe in at Diamond Aircraft,” said McFadzean. “Every Student Flies is a powerful initiative which will positively impact many young lives and our industry for years to come.”
The program will be managed by Kate Short, the Director of Aviation for the Aspen School District.
“This program is unique in that we are able to offer these experiences to public high school students at no cost to their families,” said Short, who is also a CFI.
The Aspen Flight Academy, Aspen Education Foundation, Aspen School District, and The BettyFlies Foundation joined forces to develop and fund this initiative.