Students learn how to fly planes and rocket ships in a brand new class

Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

A program that is keeping students’ heads in the stars just started at Island Coast High School. The program allows kids to learn how to fly airplanes, rocket ships, drones and learn about all things space-related.

The first-of-its-kind class is teaching students at Island Coast High School that the sky is not the limit, space exploration is. Aerospace professor William Downes knows it firsthand because he’s worked on an aircraft that’s been there.

“I’m not just lecturing, but I bring my experience. I put my pictures on the wall. I let them see me not talking about it but doing it, and so that makes it real, and makes it to them, not a fairy tale, so this is a reality, and so when I talk about Mars, I’m saying, yes, we did go to the moon. We are going to Mars,” said Downes.

It’s a program made in partnership with Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.

“I spent 21 years in the space industry myself, right? I was on the International Space Station,” said Joeffrey Bisphm, the regional manager for Embry Riddle.

Island Coast High School. CREDIT: WINK News

“If we’re, you’re preparing folks to come into that industry, and they can see what they’re waiting for, it takes up a few notches,” said Bisphm.

It’s hard not to space out and feel like you’re flying. The students are learning to put their feet on the pedals and fly an aircraft in the classroom.

For 50 minutes each day, students like Elizal Galindo get to escape from the textbooks and look up to the sky.

“I just like how calm it is, how sensitive the machine feels, and then you can be one with the system, one with the simulator, and even though it’s just a simulation, it can almost feel exactly like the real thing,” said Galindo.

Blasting off into the future of space travel one student at a time.

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