Right now, parts of an RV-12iS aircraft are scattered across the Mid America Expo Center. That’s because students from Pryor High School are building from the ground up.
The aviation industry is struggling to hang on to pilots and other jobs across the board, but the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission says our students may be the solution.
New programs beginning for schools across the state are fast-tracking students into aviation.
Right now, parts of an RV-12iS aircraft are scattered across the Mid America Expo Center. That’s because students from Pryor High School are building from the ground up. Students across Oklahoma now have an opportunity to jump-start a career in aviation.
The Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission says it’s thanks to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s initiative to rebuild pilot population and the aviation industry.
“We now have eighty-seven Oklahoma High Schools teaching this AOPA high school curriculum this year,” Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission’s Paula Kedy said.
Pryor High School is one of the schools offering the STEM program and one of only three that is building a plane like this one.
“Ironically, it’s going to be one of the best-built airplanes out there,” Dr. Jenny Peters said.
Peters teaches the program called Tango Flight. This is the first airplane the class is building which Peters expects to take two school years to complete.
This is the start of year two. She says just after the first year, students already moved on to successful careers.
“One gentleman is actually working here in the park. He works for RAE Corporation and one of the other students went to Spartan College and he is about to do his solo flight for his private pilot. So, he started the program this summer actually and he’s already soloing,” Peters said.
Senior Allen Perry says he was already taking other aviation classes, but when he heard about the chance to build a plane, he climbed aboard Tango Flight
“It’s been real exciting getting closer to the people that are here just because it’s a small class anyways and then knowing that what we’re building is going to be in the air flying,” Perry said.
Dr. Peters says if everything goes as planned, the plane will be flying by the end of summer 2024.
Pryor Innovation Center is a CAPS Network affiliate program in the state of Oklahoma.