PALMYRA - Some high school students are taking a "hands on" learning to the highest level...the sky!
They are part of a program called "AeroScholars". The national program is offered through Franklin and Palmyra-Eagle High Schools. It's made available through the joint efforts of the Utah Valley State College and the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA).
Brittany Garcia is a junior in the program.
"It's a whole other world. It's really strange to see everything so small, and to know you're that high up in the air," Brittany said.
Her mom is a flight attendant, and two of her uncles are pilots...so flying is in her blood. Her mom Marcy even got to fly with Brittany during the class.
"It's nice to be in control and and have her watching, and just kind of be proud of me," Brittany beams.
"It makes me proud to think that she's excited about her flying and having a good time and exploring her possibilities," Marcy says.
Junior Brian Hoppe is one of the most experienced students in the class. He hopes to become a commercial pilot.
"I get a lot of support from parents, family members and relatives....they've helped me a lot," Brian says.
Pilot Steve Sorge is the local facilitator of the program. He says there's a great need for young pilots.
"At one time there was over 800,000 licensed pilots in the United States. Now, there's less than 600,000," he says.
Most of the course is taught on line, but each student is assigned a mentor pilot to fly with. Steve is impressed with what he's seen so far.
"They're great. They're better pilots than I was to start with," Steve admits.
The best thing about the course: It makes learning fun.
"To get kids interested in technology areas: math, science, things of that nature, by giving them a real-life application," Steve said.
Brittany knows it's a big responsibility, but she's up for it.
"Especially in a smaller plane because you don't have as much. You're not as big, and you don't have as big of engines, you have less things, less controls....it's cool though," she exclaims.
Once students complete the program, they get college credit, and have a chance to take the FAA Private Pilot written exam.
In addition to being pilots, students also learn about other careers in the airline industry, like engineering, airport management and flight attending.