Roberta Grimard took the Aviation Explorations 12 course at the Langley Education Centre in autumn of 2018 and on Wednesday, got to go flying as part of the course. (David Thomas/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Langley high school aviation course set to take flight

The Aviation Explorations 12 course starts up in September and is open to Grades 10 to 12.

Roberta Grimard has her head in the clouds Wednesday morning, and it could lead to a rewarding career for the Walnut Grove Secondary student who is about to go into Grade 12.

Grimard was able to take an early morning flight on Wednesday with SkyQuest Aviation as part of the Aviation Explorations 12 course offered through the Langley Education Centre.

The course, which she started last autumn, and the flight have her thinking about what she wants to do for a living.

“I could totally see myself doing this [flying],” she said.

The chance to soar for about an hour over the Glen Valley and Mission areas in a Cessna 152 is one of the unique opportunities for students such as Grimard.

“It’s a lot more interesting than driving,” she quipped. “It’s just a lot of fun.”

Karlee Cindrich, her supervising flight instructor, said “She seems to be a natural.”

While the Abbotsford School District has a flight course, the local program isn’t just for those wanting to become pilots.

“This career exploration course is designed to give students in grades 10-12 an overview of the aviation industry and the wide range of awesome careers it affords,” explained teacher David Thomas.

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The aviation course resumes with the start of the new school year and is a chance for a whole new group of students in Grades 10 to 12 to sign up.

“It’s not just about being a pilot or flight crew member, or even working for an airline,” Thomas emphasized. “Along the way, students learn about aerodynamics, navigation, meteorology, air law, safety systems and more.”

Thomas, a pilot himself, canvasses the students at the start of each course so the program that year can be tailored to their interests. And his connections in the aviation world allow him to bring in guest speakers from specialized industries, such as an airplane crash investigator, specialty trades, air traffic control, and more.

“This course is very hands-on. We do in-class labs, field trips to Langley Airport and enjoy guest speakers from the aviation industry who come and share their insights and answer students’ questions,” he said.

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Most of the students who take Aviation Explorations 12 are from the Langley School District but there have also been students from private schools in Langley and students from a few neighbouring school districts. They are able to take the course because it’s offered in the evenings, on Mondays and Wednesdays.

“It’s outside the normal school day so students from other schools can still attend. The Langley School District really supports career education,” Thomas said. “It’s very rewarding to help our students achieve success and be excited about their futures.”

Thomas is in the process of following up with previous students to gauge outcomes.

One former student, Timna Dumitra, was convinced by family to try the course. A motorcycle rider who did her own repairs, she at first had her eyes on the skies but hopes of becoming a pilot were put on the back burner. She’s soon to complete the BCIT Aircraft Maintenance Engineer course.

• LEARN more about the Langley Education Centre Aviation Explorations 12 program

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Roberta Grimard took the Aviation Explorations 12 course at the Langley Education Centre in autumn of 2018 and on Wednesday, got to go flying as part of the course. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)

Roberta Grimard took the Aviation Exporations 12 course last autumn. As part of the course, she went on a flight on Wednesday. (David Thomas/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

SkyQuest supervising flight instructor Karlee Cindrich and Roberta Grimard moved the Cessna into a parking stall at the Langley Regional Airport where Grimard had just taken a flight as part of the Langley Education Centre’s Aviation Explorations 12 program. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)

The Langley Education Centre Aviation Explorations 12 course and a flight on Aug. 28 have student Roberta Grimard thinking about possible careers in aviation. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)

Teacher David Thomas could watch the route of the student flight on a SkyQuest Aviation computer at the Langley Regional Airport. (David Thomas/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

In 2017 Timna Dumitra took the Aviations Exploration 12 course which includes field trips and unique experiences. She’s about to graduate from BCIT as a aircraft mechanic. (Langley School District poster)

Student Roberta Grimard went up for a flight with SkyQuest Aviation on Wednesday as part of the Aviation Explorations 12 course. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)

(David Thomas/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

(David Thomas/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

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