2018 – 2019 Student Flight Training Kickoff

On Wednesday, 17 October, students from Torrance High School gathered in the General Aviation Building at Torrance Municipal Airport for the launch of the 2018 – 2019 flight training program. Although not directly affiliated with the Torrance School District, the program will feature a four-flight orientation ride program for students in the engineering program that will take place over the four quarters of the coming scholastic year.

Parents and students gather on the Torrance Airport Tarmac to take a closer look at an aircraft

Both parents and students were excited for the opportunity. “I Just wanted to say thank you for giving Raam the opportunity to learn how to fly it’s like a dream come true” said Yamini Patel, whose son has been interested in aviation from a young age.

Yamini, with son, Raam, trying out the cockpit

GKWFA Instructor and legacy airline pilot, Donovan Burns, is looking forward to rolling out the new four-flight orientation ride program. “GKWFA’s Torrance Flight Academy, bridges a divide between the local community and a wonderful municipal asset, Torrance Airport. This endeavor not only helps air-minded students step onto airport property, it gives them access to the sky” Burns said.

Donovan Burns with student, Gio Branaugh, on a previous first flight lesson.

Dana Hagen, the students high school engineering instructor has enjoyed seeing the energy and real-world application the program brings to his students. “This is an incredible program. The participating students can’t believe they’re actually going to take the controls of an airplane in flight before it actually happens. No amount of classroom training and computer simulation can give students the same understanding of flight.” Hagen said.

Mr Hagen was an engineering professional for over 20 years before he began teaching, which makes him acutely aware of the need to actively engage students with potential careers. “There are gigantic opportunities available to young people beginning a career in aviation, and there is a gigantic need in aviation to get young people involved in this industry. We are grateful to the knowledgeable and committed aviation professionals who contribute their time to this venture and patiently work with our students.”

The new multi-flight orientation program is designed to fill an existing gap between a students first lesson in an aircraft and career training on glider and powered aircraft. “The four-flight orientation ride is going to fill out our flight training offerings, giving students the option to move beyond a single introductory flight, without having to commit to the extensive career training we already provide. It will allow us to better fulfill our mission to greater integrate math and science in education, introduce students to aviation careers, and provide professional flight training for local students.”

Mikkelsen and students pose for a photo in front of a primary training aircraft

If you’d like to help provide these unique opportunities to our students, we welcome you to become a program sponsor.

We could use your help!

Let us know if you have any contacts, resources, or just simply want to pitch in to make this event a succesful one. Send us your info and a brief description of how you can help.