South Bend students learn to fly

GOSHEN, Ind. (WNDU) --- Some students spend most of their time learning in the classroom.

But for others, like Washington High School senior Jasmine Rangel, they spend their time learning in the air.

“They told us that we’re going to have a new program – aviation – and I was like that sounds kind of cool,” Rangel said.

So cool that nine students decided to join and enroll with her in South Bend Community School Corporation’s new Career and Technical Education Aviation Flight and Operations program.

The goal of the program is not only to give high school students an opportunity to learn about flight aviation and how to fly but to actually do it themselves, C.T.E. Assistant Principal Tony Brooks says.

“The aviation class just begun this year with South Bend Schools – our C.T.E. program – and we want to give students to get up and do real air flight time,” Brooks said.

Knowing he would learn more about different aircraft, Riley High School junior Nick Loutzenhiser enrolled in the class. What Loutzenhiser didn’t know when he signed up is he would be flying one.

“I thought it was going to be a little longer, maybe another year and learn some stuff, but it was pretty quick,” Loutzenhiser said.

Rangel says she didn’t expect to fly an aircraft this quickly either.

“I didn’t really think we would get the opportunity to actually fly a plane,” Rangel said.

On Friday, they got that opportunity. Students traveled to New Horizons Aviation flight school in Goshen. Each student had an opportunity to fly their own aircraft with the supervision of an experience pilot.

“It has the pedals and you just have to, like, try and maintain in a straight line,” Rangel explained.

Each pilot reviewed how to fully navigate and operate the aircraft before taking flight.

“He was just going over the controls a little bit, showed me what they meant and then we kind of went into the flight,” Loutzenhiser said.

Brooks says he is excited for the students to be able to get a taste for what real flight aviation and operation looks like.

“To give them a real opportunity to get up in a plane and look at the controls and have the real feel was something that all of them were really were looking forward too,” Brooks said.

The SBCSC Career and Technical Education Aviation Flight and Operations program will be moving from its headquarters at Washington High School to its new permanent home at South Bend International Airport starting next week. The program is available to all South Bend high school students.

For more information on how to sign up, click here.