North Carolina Newspapers

    Will Brinker prepares to take off during the ACE
Academy at Smith Reynolds Airport.
Photo by Todd Luck ?
Marquan Williams with a plane he just finished
piloting during the ACE Academy at Smith Reynolds
Airport.
Young pilots
take flight in
aviation camp
BY TODD LUCK
THE CHRONICLE
Middle school students
got to pilot planes on their
final day of the Jim Shaw
Aviation Career Education
(ACE) Academy at Smith
Reynolds Airport on
Friday, June 24.
ACE Academy intro
duced middle school stu
dents last week and high
school students this week
to career possibilities in
aviatmn A imnrt
Commissioner Jim Shaw
started the local academy
six years ago. It's one of
several aviation summer
camps held around the
state, sponsored by the
North Carolina Department
of Transportation Division
of Aviation.
"It's amazing to see
some of these kids get out
of the plane smiling and
happy," said Shaw.
Last week, 24 students
participated in a variety of
activities before piloting a
single engine plane with a
certified flight instructor
from Piedmont Flight
Training. They made
model airplanes, launched
miniature rockets and prac
ticed in a flight simulator.
They flew in a hot air bal
loon at Ibraham
Elementary School, where
ACE instructor Tony
Colburn teaches aeronau
tics. They learned about a
variety of jobs in the avia
tion field beyond being a
pilot and even got a lesson
in financial planning from
Piedmont Advantage
Credit Union, which is one
of the camp's sponsors.
Sponsors help keep the
tuition of the local camp
the lowest in the state.
Among the young par
ticipants was Will Brinker,
11, who is a rising sixth
grader at Jefferson Middle
School.
"I've always dreamed
about flying, and I think
that's pretty much every
kid's dream," he said.
He said he's always
wanted to be a pilot, and
that the camp has encour
aged him to pursue his
dream. He said being in a
Shaw
cockpit was an amazine
experience.
"I felt kind of free,
actually," He said. " I felt
like I was loose from the
ground." ?
Marquan Williams, 13,
a rising eighth grader from
Atlanta, Ga., also partici
pated in the camp. He's in
town visiting his grand
mother, who suggested he
try the camp.
Marquan said being a
pilot was also among his
possible career aspirations,
and that this experience
made him feel like it was
achievable.
"It was fun," said
Williams. "It was one of
the best experiences of my
life. It inspired me a lot,"
Pilots are in high
demand right now since
U.S. airlines are experienc
ing pilot shortages. Boeing
estimates it'll take 95,000
new pilots to meet the
demand of airlines in North
America over the next 20
years.
Those looking for train
ing in aviation jobs beyond
piloting may have reason to
return to Smith Reynolds
Airport in the future. The
Forsyth Technical
Community College bond
being considered by county
commissioners for the
November ballot includes
hanger and classroom
space at the airport for a
new program that will pre
pare students to work on
the mechanical structure of
airplanes. North State
Aviation, a Smith Reynolds
tenant that works on
Boeing planes, has had dif
ficulty finding college FAA
certified employees.
? ? I
Photo by Todd Luck
Marching against Veterans Affairs privatization
Protesters from HARRY Community Veterans Outreach, American Federation of Government Employees
and A. Philip Randolph Institute march in front of the Hiram H. Ward Federal Building on Tuesday, June
28, in Winston-Salem in opposition to a potential move toward privatization in Department of Veterans
Affairs healthcare. Congress is considering changes to VA hospitals after a report from the VA Commission
on Care.
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