Local non-profit helping high school students reach new heights

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Local non-profit helping high school students reach new heights

Soon a group of Big Picture High School students won't have to admire airplanes from the ground, they will be able to sit in the cockpit and take to the skies. Before they can soar over Fresno they need to learn the ins and outs. They are getting that knowledge through non-profit New Vision Aviation's first ever Ground School. They will be taught how to operate, maintain and fly planes.

"Yeah, absolutely," said Joseph Oldham President of New Vision aviation. "We are going to put them in airplanes."

Oldham is the teacher and Fresno Chandler Executive Airport is the classroom, that is where they'll meet over the next 12 to 14 weeks. Students will learn about classic gas powered planes, but also the wave of the future, Electric Alpha planes.

"Nothing is impossible and the sky is the limit or not the limit, you can even go beyond that," he said.

16-year-old Giovanni Hairston said he wants to be a pilot.

"One of the most interesting things I have learned so far is how much depth there is to piloting," said Hairston. "there is more than just the actual controlling the plane."

Daniel Iniguez, on the other hand, does not want to be in planes. He is fascinated with fixing them.

"My goal is to go to the air force, I want to be able to fix jets," said Iniguez.

At the moment the class is full. Oldham said it will better the lives of students and the industry as a whole. It will help meet the aviation industries growing needs.

"There are only about a half a million pilots out of a population of about 300 million people, so it's less than 1%," he said.

In the end, students get a sports pilot training certificate. The non-profit's goal is to continue offering the course and make it completely free. Students are paying for books and will need to pay for any additional pilot training.

"If we do this well and the community and the nation and the world could support this kind of a program then we could have something really special that a lot of kids could take advantage of," said Jon Morse learning internship coordinator at Big Picture High School.

In the future, they want to create a pipeline to Reedley College's Flight Science program.

Anyone who would like to help or learn more about the class can do so by contacting New Vision Aviation at (559) 797-6064.
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