Salem City middle school students got a chance to fly Wednesday, and for most of them, it was their first time in a plane.
NEXTGEN Aviators is a program that brings hands-on activities to students at airports across Virginia.
More than 90 percent of the students who participate have never flown.
The different activities are also a way to present information on aviation careers, outside just pilots and mechanics.
“Aviation is expected to have a deficit of over 3/4 of a million jobs over the next 20 years. There’s a deficit right now as we speak; we know we’re playing the long game. Our whole interest is to inspire the future,” said Shane Combs, the director of partner relations for NEXTGEN Aviators.
The program is set to be in Blacksburg the first week of December and back in Roanoke the week after.