Students enrolled in Tivy High School’s aviation program will be able to train on flight simulators after the Kerrville Public School Foundation Board gave the school $53,000 in funding to purchase the state-of-the-art programs.
The simulators give students a comprehensive view of flying a plane before they take to the air.
More importantly, the simulators give the students a first-hand look at opportunities in the aviation industry. Students can apply the knowledge and skills toward a pilot or drone certification.
“This is year one, and we have four simulators,” said Mark Foust, superintendent of Kerrville Independent School District. “We have incredible support, and we know we have started this program the right way.”
The inaugural class of Introduction to Aviation, taught by Aaron Cook, will use the four simulators built by RedBird — an Austin based company — for high-end simulations, including tactile control of a plane.
The simulators, which run about $8,000 each, come in two models, including one that closely resembles the cockpit of a single-prop plane. The controls are similar to what a pilot would utilize in a real plane.
Currently, 25 students are participating, but the program is slated to grow and the plan is to add a work study class that would give students practical experience in the aviation industry.
Cook, a math teacher, spent seven years in the U.S. Navy as an avionics technician and a crew member on P-3 and E-6 aircraft. Class time is divided between time on the simulators and time learning the elements and mechanics of flying.
“It has been nice to be a part of a program with such strong support from the community,” said Cook.
The Kerrville Airport Board and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) reached out to KISD to help fulfill a need in the aircraft industry.
The proximity to three airports and the enthusiasm of the community made Tivy High School an ideal choice to join more than 100 schools in implementing the nationally recognized AOPA high school aviation science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum in the 2019-20 school year.