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Southern Oregon aviators plan youth eventSouthern Oregon aviators plan youth event

More than 1,500 youth and their parents are expected at Oregon’s Grants Pass Airport March 15 for two presentations that will showcase aviation careers, camps, and learning opportunities for students interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects.

Around-the-world aviator Shaesta Waiz, Afghanistan’s first female civilian pilot, is the keynote speaker at the March 15 events at 2 and 6 p.m. Pacific time. Waiz will explain how she organized and executed the five-month solo journey in 2017. The DreamsSoar organization she founded mentors and supports young women pursuing aviation and engineering careers.

Waiz flew a specially outfitted Beechcraft Bonanza during the transcontinental flight and made 30 stops in 22 countries to meet with young people for STEM outreach and to champion aviation career options.

Organizers of the Southern Oregon Air Academy STEM kickoff event want to raise awareness for a newly signed agreement between the Alaska Air Group and local flight school Pacific Aviation Northwest, which provides $8,000 per student for flight training and guarantees them employment upon completion of their aviation requirements, Caleb LaPlante, the academy chairman, wrote via email.

The partnership was established with a $382,000 technical career grant from the Oregon Department of Education. The venture is designed to “ignite” middle- and high-school students’ interest in aviation sciences, aerospace engineering, and related subjects, according to the education department’s website.

Upon graduation from the flight curriculum, newly certificated pilots would work as Pacific Aviation Northwest flight instructors while building valuable experience. The regimen is intended to provide a guaranteed interview with regional air carrier Horizon Airlines, a subsidiary of parent Alaska Airlines, which operates coast-to-coast flights and serves 118 destinations in five countries.

Professional pilots, educators, and other members of the aviation community also will be on hand to raise awareness about aviation opportunities. The registration deadline for the Magic and Wonder of Flight! is March 2 at midnight Pacific time.

AOPA’s You Can Fly initiatives recognize the importance of building the pilot community through programs that include high school learning curriculum, flying clubs, Rusty Pilots seminars, and other pilot-support mechanisms that make flying safe, fun, and affordable.

Photo by David Tulis.
David Tulis

David Tulis

Associate Editor Web/ePilot
AOPA Associate Editor Web/ePilot David Tulis joined AOPA in 2015 and is a seaplane-rated private pilot who enjoys vintage aircraft, aerobatic flying, and photography.
Topics: Aviation Industry, Events, Pilots

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