Pilot training in high school doesn’t need to be an anomaly
When I was in high school, I stood out like a sore thumb. I’m sure that I was the only one in my high school driving to pilot training after tennis practice, and I know that I was the only girl studying to be a pilot. While there are still fewer female pilots in training courses, the AOPA is making pilot training less unusual for high school students.
The 2021 AOPA Foundation High School Aviation STEM Symposium was touch and go for a while because of Covid fears, but it is in Orlando in November.
The event is not directly for high school students, but they are the ones who will benefit in the long run. It was created for educators to get together from all over the country to share insights, ideas, and best practices for offering aviation STEM programs to their students back home.
The AOPA symposium is the only event in the nation that explicitly targets aviation and aerospace content. Its purpose is to prepare students for success in high-paying and exciting aviation-specific careers.
We’re not just talking about pilots here. Drone operators, scientists, technicians, aerospace engineers, and technologists will always be in demand. After the pandemic initially slowed down flying, aviation is roaring back and we find ourselves in the grips of a professional aviation shortfall.
AOPA is trying to attract educators interested in either starting an aviation program, adding aviation content to current STEM courses, or enhancing an existing aviation initiative at their schools. The speakers are experts in all kinds of aviation specialties and share ideas and fresh perspectives for participants to take back to their classrooms. Breakout sessions will be available to make sure everyone gets the most out of their 2 day experience.
I’ll never forget going to my first real aviation classes in college and being unbelievably overwhelmed. I have no idea how I got through it all, except for sheer will. I like to think that kids these days may have a more accessible pathway to an aviation career because of instructors who care enough to go to an event like the AOPA symposium. Pilot training is tough enough on its own, but with the opportunity to take aviation-related STEM courses in high school, I would say that it just got a little easier.