As a part of Michigan Tech’s Summer Youth Programs, high school students are participating in courses in the field of aviation and aerospace.

Members of the Civil Air Patrol are heading the program, which has been going on for the last six years. The courses feature discussions about new technologies in the industry as well as building model airplanes.

Lead instructor Jack Hartmann says MTU thought it would be a great addition to their summer classes.

“Summer Youth Program decided they wanted something exciting and so they asked us, the Civil Air Patrol, to run the Summer Youth Program for aviation and we have numerous flight instructors, former airline pilots, former military pilots with the experience to teach them all they need to know about aviation,” Hartmann said.

One of the classes had students using maps of the Upper Peninsula as they plotted a round-robin flight out of Houghton Memorial Airport. Emphasis was placed on precise calculations because one wrong number could send the flight to a whole different destination. Another class gave students an idea of the many career choices available in the field. I spoke to one of the students about what got him interested in this program.

“I like engineering and I like aerospace,” Michael Miller of Notre Dame Academy said. “I’ve always interested in space shuttles and satellites, so I thought, ‘why not try and learn?’, and I think this course starts from the basics, builds you up and in the end, you finally get to fly the airplane and that’s kind of like the test in a sense.”

On the next stop on the student’s climb to earning their wings, the students put down their pencils and pick up their joysticks to see what it’s like to be inside the cockpit so they can prepare for the real thing.