A classroom at Cardozo Education Campus in Northwest has been transformed into an aviation lab to engage students in STEM and attract them to careers in defense technology.
The new Flexible Aviation Classroom Experience or FLEX-ACE is the first lab of its kind in the District and one of only 18 around the country. It places students in a simulated test range control room and operations center.
ABC7 videotaped a simulated flight test manned by students like 16-year-old Haille Romera-Espana. She admitted to initially being nervous behind the controls, but now she’s confident.
“I love flying the airplane, I might want to become a pilot someday,” she shared.
Cardozo Aviation Instructor Brian Johnson says the experience students get in the lab is very close to the real thing.
“We are standing in one of the only flight test and evaluation centers in the county in a high school,” he said.
The Department of Defense funded the classroom which has three flight simulators, an air-traffic-control tower and nine remotely piloted vehicle stations.
The missions range from introductory flight experiences to more advanced survival support operations. While engaged in the missions, students gain a better understanding of aviation positions like engineers, technologists and scientists. 11th grader Dakota Fleury explained how learning in the lab has affected his career plans.
“I think this concept is amazing because it allows kids to narrow down their career possibilities. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do for a career, but after going to this class, I definitely want to do something in aeronautical engineering.”