CALUMET, Mich. (WJMN) – Michigan Technological University’s Summer Youth Programs offer a camp style, mini college experience to high school students that packs in a whole lot of hands on training. One such week long course is the aviation and aerospace program that teaches young adults about the science behind flight.
“We learned a lot of the basics of what it takes to make a plane fly,” said Kevin Cadeau the Public Affairs Officer for the Civil Air Patrol. “The aerodynamics of the wing and simple things like that and we taught them about flight planning, how to go on a trip somewhere and how to use the instrumentation.”
This very popular course usually fills up right away, and this year maxed out at 20 students. The high point of the week happened Thursday afternoon when each participant was able to go for a short flight in a small plane, and even take the controls.
“Oh, we went up there and he flew me out,” said student, Rachel Churchill. “And then he gave me the steering wheel. He let me drive it or fly it. Let me fly it along the canal. Then, we turned back and I did a couple of turns. Then he took the wheel again and then he flew me to the bridge and to Michigan Tech and then we came back and he let me steer it to land.”
The flights were all conducted and piloted by volunteers from the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Young Eagles Program that introduces kids to flying, and for many this is their first time in an airplane.
“It’s a great course,” said student, Calvin Watson. “You learn a lot, get great experience. It’s fun, and I mean, you get to fly a plane so it’s great.”
Enthusiasm was clearly evident in the faces of each student after landing. With demand for pilots on the rise, many of these students hope to become the next generation of aviators where the sky’s the limit.
“Just to fly in a small Cessna, that is something that not everybody can say you know, unless you have your pilot’s license,” said student Caden Hielkema. “Or you know, somebody that does, I guess it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity that I have and I’m grateful to have it.