Learning to Fly the Friendly Skies
August 24, 2016
  • Share
  • Many people may wonder if the dreams of one becoming a pilot or building planes are still prevalent among the youth.

    Although becoming a “master techie” by means of sitting in front of a computer all day is prevalent among much of the youth, many of them still bear the goals of hopping into a cockpit one day and becoming a proficient aviator – or building the next souped-up aircraft.

    Future top guns of aviation will have a chance to learn about planes, flying and more firsthand at the Multicultural Festival when Michael Perez of the Youth Eagles Aviation and Space Academy returns to the event on Aug. 27.

    “Our goal is to bring awareness to students about the different career pathways in the aviation and aerospace industry,” he said. “So we teach them about wing design – which involves engineering and math – what makes an aircraft fly, what thrust, drag and lift is and more.”

    The academy is a component of the League of United Latin American Citizens-Stockton Council 2060 and the education provided is based on the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics curriculum.

    Perez, who learned to fly in high school and became a pilot at a young age, typically teaches the program to students at the Stockton Airport, where a flight simulator is used and an introductory plane flight is given.

    Last year at the Multicultural Festival, Perez brought out a small classic model plane that drew many attendees to the education presentations he gave throughout the day.

    “Last year we brought a Cessna 150, named ‘Lil Red.’ The line to sit at the controls of Lil Red were long! We had a lot of positive feedback from the attendees. This year, we will be bringing a Smith Mini plane or a helicopter,” he said.  “Many kids still think about careers in aviation, but many of them don’t have the knowledge of how to get into it, etc. We give the public that knowledge of what it takes to be a pilot.”

    Young future pilots, aircraft builders and other potential members of the industry will be happy to know that their education will not be wasted in an industry that isn’t thriving.

    Perez mentioned that the aviation industry is a booming career to get into right now, and there is a crisis of there not being enough trained in the workforce to fill the positions.

    He’d mentioned that thousands of engineers at the U.S. Department of Defense Aerospace will be retiring soon, which will leave many new positions open for the youth.

    The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) alone is currently set to hire nearly 1,500 Air Traffic Control Specialists this month.

    “Due to the FAA not being able to obtain enough qualified air craft controllers – non-qualified in the area of math, specifically – they haven’t been able to fill their quota of hiring 1,000 per year. A lot of kids tend to shy away from math,” he said.

    Perez will be bringing education materials and will host hands on activities for children at the Multicultural Festival throughout the day from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.