Aviation Assembles Plane
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Aviation has been a part of Emerald Ridge since the school was built. The school offers a number of classes oriented to a career in flight, and that’s often what sets it apart from PHS and Rogers. Even though the program has been in place for over a decade, this year marks a new standard of learning – students will have the opportunity to build a plane.
Jeff Coleman is the aviation teacher here at ER, and he is also a commercial pilot for Kenmore Air, the largest seaplane airline in the 48 connected states. He runs JAG Air Academy, a club that allows students hands-on experience in aviation.
“A component of JAG Air is that we will be building a Vans RV-12. Students will be able to build the aircraft during class and Jag time,” Coleman said. “I am passionate about aviation. It’s an industry that’s been very good to me, and I’m also passionate about helping students find their path. I would’ve killed for an opportunity in high school to do something like this. To build an airplane, it’s crazy.”
Coleman’s classroom may be the least classroom-like environment in the school. It contains plane engines, landing gear, and various other parts, as well as newer technology that was introduced last year – flight simulators. The visual is of an F-22 Raptor, a military jet, and the simulator is designed similarly to the controls found in a legitimate airplane. As cool as it may be, it’s only preparation for the real thing – flying an airplane. Because of JAG Air, this is now an option for students who help to build the RV-12 this year.
“This gives [students] a picture of what their future possibilities are,” Coleman said. “It teaches kids to believe in themselves, whether they want to be interior designers, engineers, pilots – whatever.”