MTU summer aviation program offers high school students flight experience

They start with classroom basics and flight simulators, before getting the chance to fly for real with experienced co-pilots.
Students take flight in MTU summer program
Published: Jul. 22, 2022 at 1:13 PM EDT
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HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) - Michigan Tech University is hosting its Aviation and Aerospace Student Summer Program this week.

High School Students across the country are spending the week learning the ins and outs of piloting.

“We teach a class on aviation, and what it takes to get a pilot’s license,” said Cirrus Aircraft’s Kevin Cadeau. “We teach them instrumentation, what everything is and what they do, and in the class I’m instructing, we use a flight simulator program.”

The students use these flight simulators to practice for the real thing later in the week. The simulators offer a first-person view into the simulated cockpit, with gauges displaying direction and speed, as well as the leveling of the plane as you fly with a practice yolk or joystick.

Students have various motivations for learning how to fly. Some, like Caden Hielkema, just want the flight experience.

“I’ve always wanted to go up in the air, I’ve always wanted to, you know, fly around,” said Hielkema. “I’ve wanted to experience that whole thing.”

Others hope to use the program as a stepping stone for a future career. Henri Khaski, for example, hopes to one day fly for a living.

“For literally my entire life, since the day I was born, I’ve been a huge flight nerd,” said Khaski. “I want to get my license, and this adds hours to the ground school I need.”

Emma Arbelious, however, hopes to take it a step further and eventually fly space craft.

“I’ve kinda always been obsessed with flying,” said Emma Arbelious. “When I grow up, I want to be an astronaut, so I have to get a pilot’s license first.”

After spending several days using the simulators, students will get to take a plane into the sky with an experienced co-pilot.

“It’s surreal. You view the world in a completely different after that,” said Kodie Nowicki. “You get to see the world from a different perspective. And then you feel, like, free. You feel free up there.”

The Aviation and Aerospace student summer program plans to return next summer. The team behind the program encourages local students to consider giving it a try.

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