drone pilot industryPilot program teaches Valpo students to fly | Valparaiso News

November 6, 2021by helo-10

VALPARAISO — Four Valparaiso High School students are getting ready to fly the coop with the aid of flight instruction that began this year.

The coursework should help them soar above their peers — perhaps literally — when they go on to college or a career in aviation following high school graduation.

Olivia Lozano and Emily Phelps, both juniors, hope to earn pilot’s licenses upon completion of the flight instruction.

“Aerospace is probably our second most popular class after engineering,” VHS flight instructor Tarik El-Naggar said. A cybersecurity course is in the works for next year.

The Aviation Flight course is the result of a Valparaiso Redevelopment Challenge Grant of around $400,000 and a taxpayer-approved boost to the school district’s property tax revenue.

“This year, we didn’t even have the course listed, and four students signed up instantly,” El-Naggar said.

A lot of students have expressed their eagerness to take the course, designed for juniors, next year.

“It’s pretty cool. We’ve been actually on them for about a month,” student Maxwell Trowbridge said of the course’s flight simulators. “It’s pretty cool being able to fly.”

Fellow senior David Combs watched while Trowbridge was preparing to take off from a virtual version of the Valparaiso airport. “I don’t want to be a backseat driver, but your flaps are down,” Combs said.

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