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West Palm Beach prep school's aviation program trains next generation of pilots

Demand for pilots projected to grow faster than other occupations
A South Florida school is training the next generation of pilots.
Posted at 5:30 PM, Feb 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-17 09:51:41-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A South Florida school is training the next generation of pilots.

In an industry dealing with staffing shortages and canceled flights, pilots will be in demand in the future.

Noah Forman is learning how to fly a plane through Oxbridge Academy's aviation program in West Palm Beach.

“The complexity of it is what drew me towards aviation,” said Noah Forman, 9th grade student. “It’s a complicated puzzle and it's fun to try to solve.”

It is one of their signature programs that has been going on for more than five years.

“They start learning the history of aviation, aerospace design, and career paths towards becoming a pilot,” said Frank Loprestim, certified flight instructor at the academy.

A South Florida school is training the next generation of pilots.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment of airline and commercial pilots is projected to grow 13% between now and 2030.

That's faster than the average for all occupations.

The most exciting part of this program is that students get to practice what they learn in the classroom in a flight simulator.

“Taking them through lessons and flight planning and all the phases like a private pilot will go through,” said Loprestim.

“It shows you when you’re doing something incorrectly. So, if you’re making an uncoordinated turn and you don’t have enough flight rudder, you’re going to feel it in your turn,” said Forman.

“I have been really focusing on trying to stay on the centerline, especially landing and taxiing in general,” said Taj Amato-Heape, a student in the program.

The program not only focuses on becoming a pilot but prepares students for other careers in aeronautics.

“They also pick up an enormous amount of knowledge in physics, engineering, math and of course aeronautics,” said Ralph Maurer, head of school. “Some of them take that on to college and again not only are they pilots, but they go into areas into aerospace engineering.”

It's the ultimate example of learning by doing.