A number of young people in and around Tucson will have their heads in the clouds, literally, this summer as a part of the Aero Camp at Double Eagle Aviation at the Tucson International Airport (TIA).
The summer flight camp for young people, grades 6-12, will take place at Double Eagle Aviation, 6961 S. Apron Drive, beginning June 4.
Soon there will be a serious shortage of qualified pilots in America, explained Tim Amalong, president of Double Eagle Aviation. New flight requirements placed upon incoming pilots is making it difficult for some to meet the new skill requirements necessary to become licensed and find flight employment. â€œAfter 9/11, the aviation industry has been hurting pretty bad. Thereâ€™s a huge shortage of professional pilots out there,â€ said Amalong. â€œDouble Eagle has been around for over 28 years. Iâ€™ve owned it since 2004.â€
Aero Camp is designed to provide an early opportunity for teens to enjoy and learn about the vast and exciting opportunities that await them in the aviation and aerospace industry. â€œWhat we are trying to do is encourage the younger generation to get out there and do flight training and get them around the environment and show them what itâ€™s all about,â€ Amalong said.
He suggested numerous aviation career paths for young people to consider. â€œYou can be a corporate pilot, a military pilot or fly for the airlines. There are a lot of different options out there,â€ Amalong added.
The North American Flight School Association, of which Double Eagle is a member, is promoting summer camps across the country. â€œThis is, pretty much, becoming a nationwide summer camp,â€ Amalong explained.
One of the scheduled participants in Aero Camp will be Catherine Stypa, 15, a home-schooled high school freshman, who has always had an interest in aviation. â€œAs a kid, I thought it would be fun, but I never really thought that I could actually do it,â€ she said.
Stypaâ€™s father was acquainted with someone who knew about Double Eagle Aviation and the flight schools the company runs. â€œIâ€™ve been at it about a year-and-a-half now,â€ she said, with a smile.
Student pilots are required to be 16-years-old before they are allowed to solo or fly without a licensed instructor pilot. â€œItâ€™s 16 to solo and 17 to take your check ride for a private license,â€ Amalong explained. â€œShe canâ€™t solo right now. She can land and take off. The game plan for Catherine is to have her solo on her 16th birthday unless sheâ€™s having a big party, and when sheâ€™s 17, she can have a check ride on her birthday.â€
Stypa said she is leaning towards pursuing aviation as a career path. â€œThereâ€™s medical school or being a lawyer, but aviation is something that I really enjoy so I think it would be a really cool career to do,â€ she said.
Stypa said ground school aviation training has proven to be a challenge and provided her with incentive to establish good study habits. â€œI was one of those people who though that in learning how to fly an airplane you would just go up there and Tim would show me which buttons to press and this and that,â€ she offered. â€œBut, there is so much to it and you have to be willing to put the work in.â€
As a counselor at Aero Camp, Stypa plans to share her experiences with fellow students. There are two camps from which to choose:
Aero Camp Basicâ€“Grades 6-8–This beginnerâ€™s camp is for those who have little or no previous aviation knowledge. They will enjoy learning about:
- What makes an airplane fly.
- Who flies airplanes and what careers are available in aviation.
- The airplaneâ€™s flight controls and instruments.
- How to conduct a pre-flight inspection.
- Basic information on how to conduct radio communications.
- The concept of airport traffic patterns.
- Field trips to various destinations at TIA.
- The basics of aeronautical charts.
- Orientation flight time of up to one hour of flight time that is eligible for the studentâ€™s pilot log.
In the Basic Camp, students can log up to an hour of flying. â€œThe basic camp is going to be for the sixth through eighth graders. The advance camp is ninth through twelth,â€ Amalong said. â€œWe donâ€™t require the kids to fly. Itâ€™s more expensive if they want to fly, less than a hundred dollars more.â€
Aero Camp Advancedâ€“Grades 9-12–Teens with some aviation knowledge or experience will learn about:
- A basics recap: what makes an airplane fly, who flies airplanes and what careers are available in aviation, airplane flight controls and instruments.
- Performing an actual pre-flight inspection.
- Advanced information on how to conduct radio communications.
- Insights into airport traffic patterns.
- How to plan a cross-country flight and make the flight.
- Studying written test questions of the Federal Aviation Administration.
- Field trips to various destinations at the airport.
- How to study aeronautical charts.
- Flight instruction of two-three hours of flight time that is eligible for the studentâ€™s pilot log.
The goal of the basic camp is to get young people around the aviation industry because there are numerous careers available including: mechanics, avionics, ticketing and baggage agents. â€œA lot of these kids have never been around an airplane, much less been in one,â€ Amalong said.
Enrollment in the basic camps is being limited to 10 students at this point. â€œThe first two weeks of June weâ€™re having two Basic Camps,â€ Amalong said. â€œThe third week of June weâ€™re going to have an Advanced Camp.â€
If Double Eagle has a lot of interest there is the flexibility of holding two camps simultaneously with different instructors. â€œWe plan on doing this all summer long,â€ Amalong said.
Amalong is the past president of the 162nd Fighter Wing Minuteman Committee and is also a member of the DM 50 at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. â€œSupporting the military is huge for me,â€ he pointed out.
Thus, Aero Camp is being offered at a discount for young people in military families. â€œIf we can get their kids around aviation, to actually be able to fly in these planes and be in the planes and learn more about it, a lot of them be want to be a pilot and perhaps fly in the military,â€ Amalong said.
More information regarding Aero Camp at Double Eagle Aviation can be obtained by calling (520) 294-8214 or on the Internet at www.2-eagle.com. The weekly Aero Camp starts June 4, and runs through the summer. Spaces are limited. Camp is held Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.