HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — The students at the Aviation Academy at Andrews High School are ready to soar to new heights.
They’ve got their sights set on all things aviation. That’s why they are enrolled in the Guilford County magnet school.
“I try to get them excited about aviation because it’s just not a class. It’s a career, and it’s a lifestyle,” said David Mayers, the director of the academy.
And he should know. With more than 30 years of experience himself, his excitement for aviation shows. It’s a love he shares with lead instructor Christopher Comer.
Comer is also a pilot and aircraft mechanic, and he knows how to keep the students’ attention.
“Keep them active…keep their hands busy,” Comer said. “That’s what they like. They like hands-on every day. We’re always drawing, flying simulators, turning wrenches every day, five days a week. We’re doing…no more lecture than we just absolutely have to. All hands on. That’s the secret.”
The program is four years long. The first two years are spent on the Andrews campus where students start with an overview of aviation.
The last two years they’re at Guilford Technical Community College where they can focus on the career they want while also earning college credits.
“This Program is designed to…offer them three different pathways in the aviation industry,” Comer said. “We have the piloting program. We introduce them to flying the flight simulators. We have aircraft maintenance program and introduced them to aircraft maintenance and engineering where we talked about aerodynamics and aircraft structure.”
But Comer knows that often what the students start out wanting to do isn’t always what ends up being their career.
“Sometimes they find out, well, ‘men don’t want to be a pilot instead of an engineer because I want to be in the cockpit. I want to be flying five days a week,'” Comer said. “Or maybe some find out they like the designing process. They want be an engineer. So it may change. It may change several times.”
The Academy has not only partnered with colleges and universities. It’s also working with local aviation businesses.
After graduation, some students will go right into a paying job, while others will further their educations while working in the aviation field.