Youth aviation initiative picking up steam

May 17, 2012

Aviation summer camps have long targeted youth in hopes of influencing their career aspirations. With an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and math classes in the education system and a growing realization of the declining pilot population and predicted pilot shortage, more aviation camps are popping up around the country.

Fifty students have been selected to participate in SOaR Aviation Aerospace Camp July 15 through 20 at the University of South Carolina to learn about physics, math, engineering, problem solving, and leadership. Students will receive ground instruction, a cross-country flight in a Cessna 172, and more.

Aviation enthusiasts in Southern California have teamed to sponsor juniors and seniors from Coachella Valley High School to participate in a three-week summer course in which they will receive 14 hours of ground school; a flight physical and third-class medical/student pilot certificate; training supplies including a logbook, charts, E6B, and more; an AOPA baseball cap and special AOPA membership; two EAA Young Eagle flights; and a gift certification for one hour of flight training at the Palm Springs Pilots Association.

The Coachella Valley Youth Aviation Education Program starts July 28, and students will need to attend each ground session, currently set to occur twice a week for the three-week period. Students at the school can call 760/285-3273 for an application; the deadline to apply is July 1.

Students ages 13 to 18 who have an interest in the lighter side of GA can enroll in one of two Balloon Federation of America youth camps where they can take part in tethered balloon activities and visit balloon and other aviation-related sites for hands-on activities. In addition, they will learn about crew safety, balloon systems, first aid, power line safety, weather, training and regulations, and more. The camps are set for June 17 through 21 in Iowa and July 22 through 26 in Michigan.

If you know about youth aviation camps in your area, please share them with AOPA on Facebook to help spread the word and get more youth involved in aviation-related activities. For many students, an introduction to aviation this summer could shape their future.