Youth Exposed to Aviation Careers at MTSU Camp

High school and middle school students attending the 2018 Introduction to Aviation and Professional Pilot Advanced Camp get training Thursday, June 14, in the Flight Simulator Lab at the Murfreesboro Airport. MTSU photos by Andy Heidt

MURFREESBORO, TN — As Middle Tennessee State University wraps up its seventh annual Introduction to Aviation and Professional Pilot Advanced Camp, 34 middle and high school students have gained valuable hands-on experience in how to aviate, navigate and communicate in what could a future career.

A side view of one of the flight simulators in use at the Murfreesboro Airport during the 2018 Introduction to Aviation and Professional Pilot Advanced Camp.

Coordinated by the MTSU Department of Aerospace, the one-week intensive aviation camp started Monday and concluded Friday at the MTSU Jean A. Jack Flight Education Center at Murfreesboro Municipal Airport and on the MTSU campus in the Business and Aerospace Building. 

Opening activities started Monday morning when campers met with MTSU faculty and staff to learn about flight and aerodynamics. From there, campers broke off into four groups for the duration of the week where they learned various aspects of aviation.

A young aviation camper takes a turn training Wednesday, June 12, on the air traffic control simulation lab inside the MTSU Business and Aerospace Building during the 2018
Introduction to Aviation and Professional Pilot Advanced Camp. MTSU photo by Keundrea Simpson

Camp attendee Nathan Arend came to learn the ropes on becoming a pilot. “I came here because I wanted to have a general knowledge over all things aviation,” said Arend. “Flying would be my specific field, but it’s better having a wide range of knowledge.”

With 30 hours of nonstop aviation activities planned, the faculty and staff instructed

campers on the ins and outs of mechanical flight and the aviation industry. 

Some sessions included:

• A one-hour flight to a nearby airport (half hour flight-instruction time, half hour as a passenger) in the university’s Diamond Star DA-40 glass cockpit aircraft

• A half hour of flight instruction in a flight training simulator

• Three hours of flight instruction in an aircraft desktop training device

• A half-day experience in the MTSU Air Traffic Control simulation lab

• A half-day experience in the MTSU aerodynamics lab

• A half-day experience in the MTSU maintenance lab

Thomas Kelly, 12, left, and Graham Jones, 15, fly one of the flight simulators Thursday, June 14, at the Murfreesboro Airport during the 2018 Introduction to Aviation and Professional Pilot Advanced Camp. MTSU photos by Andy Heidt

Along with the flight, simulator and lab experiences above, students also received ground instruction covering aircraft systems, airport operations, and more.

Aerospace associate professor Gail M. Zlotky, Air Traffic Control program manager, said the students get to do a little bit of everything during the camp, and she hopes students learned that there is more to aviation then flying. 

“You don’t have to fly planes to be in this field,” said Zlotky. “We want to broaden our student’s perspectives on everything aviation has to offer.”

The camp was conducted by five MTSU full-time faculty and staff members, along with four MTSU flight in order to create fun and productive sessions. 

For more information about the camp, contact the Aerospace Department at 615-898-2788 or email Mary Lou Cornett at marylou.cornett@mtsu.edu.

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