BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Drones are becoming more and more a part of our lives. We see them everywhere. It’s also the wave of the future when it comes to careers.
Students at both Bentonville high schools are learning how to fly them, and that’s just for starters. The program is called Ignite Aviation-Air Mobility, a professional studies program for students who want to pursue a career in the field of aviation and unmanned aerial systems.
The classes are held at the Thaden Airfield at the Bentonville Airport.
“That will be the ground school for private pilots so they could easily move on and continue, and we can’t teach them flying but we can teach them ground school and there’s a lot to that.”
Richard Ham is Associate Director at the University of Arkansas’ College of Engineering. He says the University has been partnering with Bentonville schools for a while to motivate students to attend his program.
He says this program goes way beyond flying a drone. “There’s programming building models students that are interested even in if they want to build video games the augmented reality that’s going to be used to build basically simulations in modeling that you have to do to build any type of inspection program.”
Lena Morris is a junior at Bentonville West. She says she sees this as her first step toward getting to fly drones. “A lot of the stuff that we’re learning here will probably be on the test to be a pilot and I’m wanting to be an air force pilot or a commercial pilot.” She also says she hopes this will open the door to more women pilots.
“I think a lot of young girls will be motivated and want to pursue that kind of dream.”
Grant Overman is a Senior at Bentonville High. He says his dream job would be piloting a bush plane in Alaska. Until then, he says he’s excited to see the program already grow.
“We’re supposed to get some simulators in soon and to really just learn. I’m here to learn everything I can about aviation and just grow in that field. In addition to working with drones, simulators and planes, students will network with individuals that can guide and lead them down the aviation career path they are most interested in pursuing.”