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Wellington High School initiates first-of-its-kind aviation program

first_imgMembers of Wellington and state of Kansas first High School Aviation Class.by Amber Schmitz, Sumner Newscow — Fourteen students at Wellington High School are taking the first of its kind aviation class this year.Patrick Hamlin, manager of the Wellington Municipal Airport, along with Wellington Middle School Sixth Grade World History instructor Brandon Wilmoth, are instructing the class, called Aviation Exploration. The program was initially approved by the Wellington School Board last spring in hopes of spawning more aviation classes elsewhere.“It started out as an idea with a group of people in Kansas Community on Aerospace Education which I’m a member of,” Hamlin said. “The idea grew from there.”Students interested in becoming a pilot, airplane mechanic, flight attendant, etc., are encouraged to attend the class.Currently, the class consists of 14 juniors and seniors.“It will be a junior based program, but since this is the first year, we allowed seniors in the class,” Hamlin said.Hamlin is excited about the project.“The group is really goal oriented in teaching aviation careers to youth,” Hamlin said. “Since this is the only program like this in the state, it’s a learning experience for all of us.”The goal of the class is to ensure that each student passes their written test to get a pilot’s license. The class has a goal to complete this in December.“Once they pass the written test, they are able to take flight instruction over summer break,” Hamlin said.Students must take flight instruction from an FAA certified flight instructor which Hamlin is. Anyone who takes the test must have an endorsement from a flight instructor.“If a student completes their license by the time they go to college, and they are pursuing a career as a pilot, or anything in the aviation field, it will count towards college credit,” Hamlin said.Hamlin said the class is hoping for sponsorship so that students can obtain their licenses without paying the fees required.“The class is not just about obtaining an aviation license, it opens eyes to all aviation related careers, whether someone wants to work for the National Weather Service, be a flight attendant, or pilot, this will help them,” Hamlin said.After Christmas break, the class plans on studying more exploration of different aviation careers. Hamlin plans on having someone from the National Weather Service, an airplane maintenance person, KDOT aviation director, and someone from the aviation college in Salina, come speak to the students.“I’m in a unique circumstance,” Hamlin said. “The city manager is allowing me to be at the high school for a two year period, from 7:30 to 8:45 a.m. instead of reporting to the airport at that time.”The plan of action, Hamlin said, is for Wilmoth to eventually take over the class after he receives all of his necessary credentials.“It’s a learning experience, and the school has been very supportive,” Hamlin said. “There is no model to basis after, and not many other programs like this in the country, so we learn as we go.”last_img read more