West Michigan Aviation Academy Students Finish Flight Training

Thirteen West Michigan Aviation Academy (WMAA) students completed the work to earn their private pilot certificate.

WMAA is a tuition-free public charter high school located on the grounds of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Created with the sole purpose of fostering interest in aviation by providing youth with full access to the resources needed to reach their goals, WMAA offers typical STEM classes with a curriculum designed around aviation, engineering, science, and technology.

When the school closed down in April to comply with Governor Whitmer’s executive order regarding COVID-19, staff put their heads together to find a way to help seniors who had been pursuing their private pilot certificate complete their training.

“The private pilot license is the capstone of our aviation program,” said George Pavey, Dean of Aviation and Engineering. “These students took on the additional challenge of remote learning to complete their studies and prepare for the licensing test. Although we could not complete their oral exam and check ride before graduation, my team committed that we would find a way to get them in the air as soon as we could, even if it meant flying all summer.”

“They don’t just do their job to get paid,” said WMAA student Triston Mayton. “They made personal sacrifices of family time and of their summer to help us get through this program despite the ongoing pandemic. I am so thankful that they were here for me. It was a challenge to take on this work, but they gave us all the tools to succeed. All we had to do was put them to good use.”

Congratulations to the following WMAA students: Sierra Barna, Kiehl Dahnke, Drew Daugherty, Nick Gutowsky, EAA 1101129, Taylor Hall, EAA 1239333, Zach Herrera, Matias Martinez, Triston Mayton, Vixie Moore, Nathan O’Droski, David Rozelle, Joe Skrycki III, and Ford Yates.

To learn more about WMAA and what they have to offer check out, the story A Bright Future for Aviation” featured in the August 2020 issue of EAA Sport Aviation.

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