WHITEHOUSE, Texas (KETK) – A new experience is on the horizon as some students in East Texas are getting the opportunity of a lifetime.
Whitehouse ISD students are getting hands-on experience in pilot training by getting behind the cockpit and taking off into the sky.
“What we do is we fly young kids to give them the opportunity where normally they don’t have this opportunity,” said Gayla Leary, EAA.
The goal is to help students like Braiden Miller learn the mechanics behind flying.
“Once you actually get in one and you see it, you can actually see how they work and how certain things need to be applied when your flying,” said Miller.
While anyone can join, students like Miller have dreamed of a career in aerospace since he was young.
“My fifth-grade year actually, we were doing a project where we had to look up career paths and I saw this thing called Aerospace engineering.”
What started as a dream grew to a passion that led him to the program offered by Whitehouse ISD.
“It’s weird, it’s almost like your a bird but bigger, you look around and see all these places, it’s almost like being on top of a mountain just going really fast.”
Every few months, the Whitehouse Aviation Club meets and gives students the opportunity to learn the mechanics of a plane and what it takes to take off and land safely.
The club is part of the Young Eagles Program which has been dedicated to giving youth their first taste of flying.
“Some of these kids have never had the opportunity to get into one of these aircrafts,” said Leary. “That’s our goal to show them you can do it and its really not that scary. “
Each of the meetings is guided by East Texas airmen who help direct them through the steps of flying and what experiences they have gone through over the years.
“I’ve flown somewhere around 400 of these kids over the years, and I do it because I enjoy flying with kids that really have an interest in it, the ones that light up, those are the ones who are fun to fly with, and that’s just why I do it,” said Barton Robinett, pilot.
Robinett learned to fly from his father and hopes to pass on his knowledge to those who don’t have the resources readily available.
“It creates goodwill toward general aviation for little airplanes, and that’s really important, even if they never go any further then this hopefully they’ve had an enjoyable experience, something that they can look back on fondly and that makes them inclined to support other people who do this,” said Robinett.
Seeing a career in aviation first-hand has opened the minds of many Whitehouse students that want to continue and make it a career.
“I want to hopefully get my pilot license so that when I go to university and get my degree, I can use that to get a job so that I can get a better experience through it,” said Miller.
This may be one opportunity but opens the door for many more in the future.