New curriculum headed to North Augusta High to train students in aviation

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NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WJBF) — Aiken County School District is looking to get more students interested in flying. The district is adding a new program at one of the area high schools.

“Literally every morning on the way to school I drove past daniel field. I always kind of thought that it would be neat to learn to fly. You’ll see planes coming in and out all the time,” North Augusta High School History teach Travis Spears told NewsChannel 6’s Shawn Cabbagestalk.

History teacher and pilot Travis Spears learned to fly! With more than 600 hours in the air with this year marking 20 years in the sky. Now, he wants to bring that training to the next generation after meeting a businessman who sparked his interest. ” I went up with him on his plane and then I was like, oh, that was awesome. I was hooked,” he recalled.

According to a recent survey, The Boeing Company said that just in North America alone in the next 20 years, we will need 212,000 pilots. To help with the void, North Augusta High School will offer a curriculum in aviation starting next year for incoming ninth graders. “We can take a kid that’s coming into this program and if they finish it all the way through and decide to work on their pilot’s license, they’ll be able to go sit in there and take the written exam and be ready for it,” Spears said.

The four-year program is hands-on giving students a peek into all types of aviation jobs like an air traffic controller, mechanic, or pilot. “They’ll be learning about different aspects of flights, how planes work, how all the instruments work in everything — the whole nine yards,” he added.

Spears found Boeing’s aviation curriculum online and brought it to the school’s principal. “This one I felt was the best. On day one, it shows what the student is going to learn, what they’re gonna do, and the activities that go along with it. It’s very hands-on stuff.

So what does day one look like? “So one of the first things that they’ll do is learn about what we call an angle of attack in an airplane, what makes a plane stall, and how wind coming could cause the plane to stall,” Spears shared.

Spears will spend part of Monday talking with students at Paul Knox and North Augusta Middle Schools to share more details about the new curriculum. “I’m actually bringing two pilot friends of mine to the meetings with me. They’ll talk about their careers and what got them interested. Students will have to work with their guidance counselors and North Augusta guidance counselors on their schedules,” he said.

It’s giving students in Aiken County new options for a tomorrow that could be endless. “You know, it fits in exactly what we’re trying to do in North Augusta is give the kids that walk out of here a career path,” Spears added.

If you have any questions, reach out to Travis Spears here or your student’s guidance counselor.

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