FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – Fayetteville Regional Airport wrapped up its first youth Aviation Career Education Academy on Thursday afternoon.
More than 60 middle and high school students attended the four day camp. It exposed the students to different career roles in aviation, including piloting, airport administration and control tower operations.
“All my life I’ve been really interested in planes,” Truman Tait, a seventh grader said.
Another told CBS 17 he didn’t have a lot of prior knowledge on planes until attending the academy, but was happy he came.
“I didn’t have any ideas of what aviation was until I came here,” Dante Martin, a sophomore said.
The free camp sparked some interest in students including Martin. He said he has never flown before, but now he wants to be a flight attendant.
“Flight attendants have a lot of flexibility with their work schedule,” Martin said, that he liked.
This academy comes at a time airlines and airports are struggling to keep up with the travel demand.
“There is a pilot shortage and we wanted to spark interest in these leaders of tomorrow so we can continue the successful aviation,” Deontae Watson, a Deputy Director of Fayetteville Regional Airport said.
The ACE is a partnership with the North Carolina Department of Transportation Division of Aviation. Fayetteville Regional Airport was awarded a $3,000 North Carolina Department of Transportation grant for the academy.
ACE Academy also received donations from sponsors, including All American Aviation Services, LLC, Sierra Nevada Corporation SNC, Signature Flight Support, Civil Air Patrol, Federal Aviation Administration, RS&H, Delta Air Lines, Transportation Security Administration and The City of Fayetteville, to make the academy free for the young campers.
Students received certificates, lapel pins and giveaways at the end of the camp. Airport leaders also plan to make this academy an annual event for students.
For more information about Fayetteville Regional Airport’s ACE Academy, click here.