By Emmeline Ivy, KFYR
The Bismarck Public Schools Career Academy staff is dedicated to helping students realize their full potential and achieve their goals. Now, it’s one step closer to helping those interested in becoming pilots – even before graduating high school.
The BPS Career Academy boasts 18 student pilots who have been certified by the Federal Aviation Administration to fly with an instructor.
Three of those kids are looking to secure their Commercial Pilot Certificate before graduation. Thanks to a donation from one generous local, the students are now able to receive flight credit without leaving the classroom.
There are many reasons why these students have chosen a path to the skies.
“I’ve always wanted to be a pilot my whole life,” said 17-year-old student pilot Logan Lawrence.
“I’m looking to teach aviation,” said 17-year-old student pilot Jefferson Miller.
“I’m studying to get my private pilot license and pass the written test,” said 16-year-old student pilot Garen Crouse.
The one common denominator linking them together? Passion for flight.
Jefferson Miller is hoping to get his dream of joining the aviation industry off the ground. “Ever since I was young, I would look up, and I’d see planes in the air. I’d just think, ‘I want to do that.’
At a young age, Miller caught a flight that changed his life. “One of my mom’s friends, he took me and my older brother up into a plane, and I was just awestruck. It was just the coolest experience of my life,” said Miller.
Miller’s classmate, Logan Lawrence says he’s been preparing for takeoff for as long as he can remember.
“I’ve just always been fascinated by it. Ever since I’ve been a little kid, I’ve only wanted to be a pilot,” said Lawrence.
Logan’s friend, Garen Crouse says his interest developed over time, but now his goal is as clear as the summer sky.
“My dream? Being a commercial pilot for any kind of airline,” said Crouse.
A new class tool is helping the students learn on the ground while giving them the skills to soar.
“We got the simulator a couple of weeks ago. It’s an advanced aviation training device, which allows us to actually train the pilots and also students too for a more immersive and hands-on learning experience,” said Aviation Technology Instructor Brad Stangeland.
Brad Stangeland’s class says the simulator is a game changer. “If you wanted to practice getting out of some kind of dangerous scenario, you wouldn’t really want to do that in an actual plane. You’d want to do it in a simulator,” said Crouse.
“It’s definitely a huge advantage that us students have over anyone else that’s trying to be a pilot,” said Lawrence.
You can feel almost what it feels like to be in an actual airplane,” said Miller.
These three will soon land jobs. And for future students, the possibilities are now endless.
“I’m experiencing history in the making. I can see the impact of the generations to come,” said Miller.
Time spent in the simulator can be logged for flight hours - up to 2.5 toward private pilot licenses and 50 toward commercial licenses.
Bismarck resident and aviation enthusiast Kerry Carpenter donated the flight simulator to the Career Academy.
Reprinted with permission from KFYR TV. Copyright 2023 KFYR.