72 Student First Flights and Counting

On Saturday, 13 March, GKWFA completed it’s 16th student first flight for the year, and our 72 since we began flight operations four years ago. Combined with reoccurring orientation flights, this brings to the total number of students flown to 21 for the current school year. For the students that took to the skies for their first flight lesson at Torrance Airport, in Southern California, the flight was an opportunity for them to polish up the classroom flight skills they have been practicing throughout the course of the year.

As part of their ground school studies, students at both schools engage in computer flight simulator training, which gives them a huge headstart in their flight knowledge and skills. “When I fly with people who have never been in an aircraft before and have never used a computer simulator, I usually have to do most of the flying” said Dan Mikkelsen, GKWFA Executive Director and Certified Flight Instructor. “When my students fly for the first time, they do 95% of the flying. They are able to taxi the aircraft, takeoff, fly, and approach the airport to land, with little or no help from me. The only time I usually have to assist them is from about 100 feet above the ground to touchdown” Mikkelsen added.

The first flight lesson allows students to see first hand what is involved with piloting a real aircraft. It helps them better decide if flying is a career they would like to explore. If they desire to pursue flight further, glider/soaring training is the next step for students age 14 – 16. Students age 17 or older can begin directly on powered aircraft if they desire to do so. “Our mission is to apply math and science, introduce students to aviation careers, and to train students for professional aviation careers” Mikkelsen said. “We desire to build a career pathway from the high school environment directly to the regional carriers and charter flight operators.”

Currently, there are 26 students waiting to experience their first flight in a small aircraft. If you would like to help more students experience flight for the first time, please donate today. Your tax-deductible gift will allow us to fulfill our mission.