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Aviation program really ‘taking off’ at The Academy @ Shawnee

A state of the art flight simulator has been a new, unique learning tool for students interested in aeronautics.
Published: Apr. 15, 2022 at 1:37 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The aviation pathway at The Academy @ Shawnee has grown tremendously in recent years. A state of the art flight simulator has been a new, unique learning tool for students interested in aeronautics, including senior class president Jalelia Wydman.

“I want to be an air traffic controller,” said Wydman. “I want to go to college for aviation, but I plan on doing air traffic control and maybe working myself to becoming a pilot.”

Wydman has been in the aviation pathway since she started high school at Shawnee, but it’s a lot different than when she started, with the new technology like the simulator and the summer programs put on by the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, or OBAP. The OBAP summer camp was cancelled in 2020 and was limited in 2021, but it’s back and the flight simulator is in play.

“The Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals partnered with the FAA and certainly here with the Academy @ Shawnee to help facilitate this exposure to the aerospace industry,” explained the summer program’s director, Raymond Robinson, who is also a UPS Flight Officer. UPS has also partnered with Shawnee’s aviation program.

One of the most famous aviators of all time is from Kentucky: Willa Brown. She was the first black female to receive a pilot’s license in the U.S. Now, students are interested in learning all about her.

“Me looking at other black women knowing what they want to do and how they got to pursue their dreams, it made me think differently,” said Wydman, who plans on attending the summer camp for the first time this year.

The camp is for all students. There will be a week in July and a week in June. You can find information on the program here.

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