Escambia High School Aviation Academy Takes Flight

Most Escambia High students will not enter the workforce for another three to five years, but they’re taking flight now on their career path in aviation.

The students are training to become aviators. Most of them are high school seniors getting a head start on college credits.

“They don’t offer this class at other schools, so it’s cool to have this for our future,” says one aviation student.

It’s a dual enrollment program through Embry Riddle University.

“It’s called the Gates Aerospace Institute,” said Greg Pile, instructor at the academy. “We offer dual enrollment classes that get Embry Riddle credit for the students, and most of them come with industry certification.”

That certification comes with hands-on flight training from state of the art simulators. Students gave me a quick lesson. With a few changes of the settings, we are in flight.

“Right now you are flying dead north, so if you want to head back to the beach, you need to basically need to make a U-turn,” the students explained, showing me a demo of their everyday classwork.

I will stick to being a news reporter for now, but these students are given the opportunity to explore several careers within the field of aviation.

“We typically see things like aerial photography — people using drones for wedding photography,” Pile said. “What people really don’t see or think of are the applications of agriculture.”

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