Budding aviators should be aware of a full-immersion program that combines science, technology, engineering, and math concepts with a virtual experience aboard an aircraft carrier that is the closest thing to enlisting, without the four-year hitch.
The National Flight Academy’s aviation-themed learning environment at Florida’s Naval Air Station Pensacola allows students in grades 7 through 12 to live in staterooms, eat in mess halls, and practice aviation maneuvers on flight simulators in a fully accredited home-away-from-home camp environment.
Aviation-themed experiences aboard the three-story-tall simulated land-locked ship include the six-day deployment, three-day cruises, and one-day adventures.
“It really is a gem,” academy spokesperson Malerie Shelton told AOPA. “They feel the vibrations, hear different sounds like whistles and alerts, and even birds chirping as they walk up to board the ship.”
The academy offers several spring break options for their flagship deployment voyages March 20 through 25, March 27 through April 1, and April 10 through 15.
Shelton said the deployment experience “blends the culture and excitement of aviation with twenty-first-century technology and core competencies in an exclusive, entertaining, and engaging immersive environment.” The missions progressively become more challenging throughout the week as the young aviators advance their aviation, science, and communication skills.