Danielle Smith, Public News Service
A Pennsylvania high school is setting students up for highflying careers.
The Wallenpaupack Aeronautical Science and Aviation Program provides students with hands-on education in the aviation industry.
Eric Greenberger, director of the aviation program at Wallenpaupack Area School District in Hawley, said its one-of-a-kind in-house program focuses on four specific careers in the aviation world.
“We train students here in the high school during the school day to become professional pilots, air traffic controllers, aviation maintenance technicians and managers in an aviation business,” Greenberger outlined. “We’re the only school that’s doing that in the state of Pennsylvania, and we’re the only school in the entire country that’s doing what we’re doing in the ways that we’re doing it.”
Using decades of aviation industry knowledge and contacts, Greenberger explained he was able to put together the aviation program in just six months for just $3. All he needed to do was persuade the school district to allow him to do it. It did, and he was able to secure three donated airplanes for just $1 each.
Greenberger pointed out at each grade level, students advance to another course of study, from introduction to aviation to private pilot ground school and instrument ground school. In addition, the school is preparing the students to take the Federal Aviation Administration written exam.
Greenberger emphasized rather than reading a textbook or watching videos online, the students are working on real aircraft.
“We have several aircraft engines set up,” Greenberger noted. “Kids are literally rebuilding engines, aircraft engines right here in our classroom. We have several different types of propellers. So kids work with constant-speed propellers that they’d find on larger, like, commuter airplanes. Everything about this program is real life, hands-on.”
Greenberger added the program is working on an articulation agreement with a local university. The plan is for students who complete coursework with the aviation program to receive three college credits through the university.
This article originally appeared on Public News Service and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.