Partnership with McAllen Flight Academy exposes students to fundamentals of flight
A unique partnership between South Texas College and McAllen Flight Academy has enabled Ethan Rogers to consider life as a pilot for the first time in his young life.
Flying is the ultimate freedom according to Rogers, 16, who says his summer aviation camp with MFA has cemented his plan to pursue a career as a pilot for a major airline.
“Imagine going anywhere you want, as far you want, and only being limited by what you can see on the horizon,” Rogers said. “Anything I have wanted to learn about airplanes I learned in this class. I know there is still so much more to learn and I am very excited.”
South Texas College’s Continuing Professional Workforce Education (CPWE) Department hosted its first Summer Aviation Camp to high school students from July 16-19.
The four-day camp took place at the STC Technology Campus and McAllen Flight Academy’s facility near Miller International Airport. The camp focused on flying fundamentals including aerodynamics, forces of flight, engine theory and instruments. Students also received time in flight simulators on the third day of camp.
Utilizing the simulators, chief flight instructor Chad Stewart then guided the students through an airplane checklist as well as pre-flight operations.
“This wasn’t your regular camp. These students received the full-blown experience,” said McAllen Flight Academy owner Hector Zuniga. “I gave them real aviation classes with the actual theory and FAA-approved curriculum that we teach to our student pilots. The students seemed to enjoy it, and overall I think it was a great success.”
McAllen Flight Academy was approached by STC’s CPWE Department to conduct the camp, making it the first college-level sponsored aviation camp in the history of the Valley.
Upon completion of the course, participants received a certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and a pilot wing lapel. Zuniga said it puts students in a position to continue with the rest of their journey to become full-fledged pilots including obtaining their private pilot certification, instrument-ready certification, commercial ready and multi-engine commercial ready certification, flight instructor, and instrument instructor certification.
Program Developer and Coordinator at South Texas College, Jose Raul Ruiz said the summer camps allow young people to become more independent and self-confident as they begin to consider possible careers.
“We are very excited with our partnership with McAllen flight Academy and we are definitely planning to host aviation camps throughout the year,” Ruiz said. “We believe camps are very important for children as it offers learning opportunities to grow in different areas.”