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South Valley Journal

Aviation students are blown away

Oct 04, 2021 02:58PM ● By Jet Burnham

Aviation students at the Jordan Academy for Technology and Careers get a detailed lesson on a helicopter’s startup and landing sequences. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

By Jet Burnham | [email protected]

Aviation students were blown away by the opportunity to watch a helicopter land just outside their classroom at the Jordan Academy of Technology and Careers north campus on Sept. 9.

“It was cool watching it all happen in real time and not just in a video,” said Lexis Zinger, a senior.

The helicopter was piloted by instructors from the Southern Utah University aviation program. They spoke with students and demonstrated the startup and shut down sequences and the various checklists involved. Students were allowed to explore the aircraft and ask the pilots their questions.

JATC aviation instructor Aaron Organ said his program is designed to expose students with an interest in aviation to opportunities in the industry. He invites guest speakers to the class and arranges field trips so students are able to meet a variety of people working in a variety of careers in the industry.

“Most of these students are here to explore--they have an interest in aviation,” Organ said. “Very few of them have a direct line to aviation--not many of their parents work in the industry. And so the main thing I want them to get out of this is just the ability to explore, talk to pilots, and spark that greater interest and give them the resources they'll need to explore what's best for them in the industry.”

High school junior Lainey Vander Linden is taking the aviation class to see if she wants to pursue a piloting career path.

“It’s easier to check it out in high school than it is in college,” she said.

Vander Linden said she has learned that there is more to an aviation career than just flying for airlines. In the class she has learned about a lot of the behind-the-scenes jobs.

“I think it's cool how we’re exploring the different career paths,” she said. “Because I didn't think there were as many as there are. There’s more than just flying for the airlines-- there's a lot more you can do. The helicopter today showed a completely different avenue that you can also go.”

Organ uses a variety of activities to give students hands-on learning opportunities to explore flight. During the unit about the history of aviation, students learned about hot air balloons. Once they understood the basics, they made their own and then flew them. They also built model aircrafts as part of the course.

But it’s not all playing with aircraft and meeting interesting people. Students earn college credits and prepare to take the written test for a pilot’s license.

“It's learning a lot of the basics of what it would be like to be a pilot,” Organ said. “So we get into a lot of math and physics, the aerodynamics of flight and understanding weather.” 

The aviation course is offered exclusively in Jordan district at the JATC north campus. Students take core classes at their high school and then travel by car or bus to take a half day of classes at the JATC campus.

“Think of us as a really big, expensive portable, that's kind of faraway,” JATC Principal Chris Titus said.