All those hours of playing video games are finally put to use. High school students are taking part in virtual flight simulations at Michigan Tech to move them one step closer to being able to fly an aircraft.

The Civil Air Patrol provides the students with a program that allows them to select from several different aircraft which shows them the many details of a real-life cockpit.

“We teach them things about how to use the instrumentation that they were taught about earlier about the air speed indicator, vertical speed indicator and those sort of things,” flight simulator instructor Kevin Cadeau said. “And putting them all into play so that when they get into the real plane at the end of the week, they’re going to understand what everything is and they’ll be able to fly that aircraft without a problem.”

Cadeau says that while there is a lot to learn from the classroom lectures, the hands-on experience is very critical when teaching students about aviation.

“We’ve been flying out of Houghton so far, and then we switched it over for fun because we were having them do takeoffs and landings, and they were getting pretty good at that on the simulators, so we set it up to San Francisco and we had them fly outbound and they’re flying over the ocean
and there’s an aircraft carrier out there. So now, they’re trying to land on that, so they’re enjoying that quite a bit,” Cadeau said.

Tomorrow, the final stop for the students will see them in the pilot’s chair where they will take off for the very first time.