Coffee High School offers new aviation program to help students become pilots

The school is doing so through a partnership with Middle Georgia State University.
Published: Sep. 29, 2023 at 11:31 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 30, 2023 at 7:00 PM EDT
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DOUGLAS, Ga. (WALB) - Coffee High School is hoping to introduce their students to the aviation industry.

The school is doing so through a partnership with Middle Georgia State University. Some of the things, teachers want the students to know are the basic skills needed to fly an airplane.

“The understand that they need to pay attention to everything that they do,” Aviation Instructor John Brown said. “Following their checklist. Following the regulations. Not taking shortcuts.”

Brown got inspired, to teach this program, from his service in the Air Force.

“Pilots and flight attendants they have to defuse those situations. I think it’s teaching them life skills. Learning how to deal with difficult situations,” Dr. Adon Clark, who work in Middle Georgia’s School of Aviation, said.

Middle Georgia offers a Bachelor’s in Aviation Sciences and Management.

2023 marks the first school year students have had access to this program. The program currently has five students enrolled. Four of the students spoke with WALB about how this will help with what they want to do in the future.

“I thought it’d be nice to actually learn how to fly a plane. Be able to learn and do all that,” Senior Mason Hewitt said. “Be able to learn to be an engineer. Go into that career as a job after school.”

Hewitt adds he would also like to be the one who works on and puts the planes together.

“I feel like Learning it a bit earlier than maybe everyone else would, definitely helps gives me a head start,” Senior Jordan Dominquez said.

Dominquez hopes this knowledge will help him achieve his goal of one day becoming a pilot.

“You need to know the people you are piloting with. Like you co-pilot and stuff like that. Need to know not just how to fly a plane but the mechanics of it,” Senior Walker Mizell said.

Mizell feels this is important because if something goes wrong, you will know how to troubleshoot it.

“Want to have my own jet. Pretty much be able to fly my jet. Pretty much have my own personal planes. Pretty much know how to drive the wheel,” Senior Angel Vivar said.

Vivar adds he does not want to limit what he learns, in aviation. Saying there is something new every day.

Students, enrolled in the program, have the opportunity to earn prerequisite credits for college. It allows them to physically step inside a cockpit during their freshman year, at Middle Georgia. Coffee High School’s principal tells me the list is already growing for future participants.

“We just ask that the sophomores and the freshman continue to make good grades, be good people and do the things we ask them to do. Then when they get to this year, their third year, they can also be in the program,” Van Allen, principal at Coffee High School, said.

Allen adds the inspiration, to start this program, was to continue the rich tradition of aviation, in Coffee County.

The program is open to all interested juniors and seniors. To qualify, 11th and 12th graders must have and maintain a 3.0 GPA.