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New club offers a step into the aviation industry

Holt’s new Aviation Academy provides students a new opportunity to pursue their flying dreams

One of several business aviation aircraft housed at the Capital Region International Airport that students will be able to visit. | Photo Credit: Brian Richard Griffin

With such a diverse student body at Holt High School, many students are seeking to satisfy their similarly diverse passions and interests. Many times, students must go elsewhere, further than a school-sponsored club or extracurricular, to achieve being immersed in activities that tend to their interests.

Recently, a local group of sponsors, along with district administration, have started a partnership to get a new aviation club ‘off the ground’ at Holt. Great Lakes Air Ventures at Mason Jewett Airport, Western Michigan University College of Aviation, and the Michigan Business Aviation Foundation have teamed up to provide a select group of Holt students interested in aviation an opportunity to participate in introductory aviation classes at the high school. They will also be able to take field trips to Western Michigan University, the Mason-Jewett Airport, and the Capital Region International Airport in Lansing in the coming weeks.

Director of Secondary Programs at Holt Public, Lucas Schrauben, hopes that this new club, officially entitled “Holt Aviation Academy,” will offer more opportunities to students interested in a career pathway in the aviation industry.

Dean Walters, chairman at Michigan Business Aviation Foundation, regularly flies business aviation planes such as this one in Lansing, MI. | Photo Credit: Brian Richard Griffin

“We had some feedback from Holt alum, [who] are in the business community and getting their pilots’ license, of the dire need we are seeing in the employment landscape and how much opportunity there is for our students in this field,” said Schrauben.

According to leading aircraft manufacturing company Boeing, about 2.1 million aviation personnel are forecasted to be needed by 2036, as flying becomes an increasingly popular means for transportation. The people behind the new club are actively seeking out ways to gain members in the aviation industry by reaching out to students as early as high school.

“Michigan Business Aviation Foundation’s mission is to create a pipeline of future pilots, mechanics, flight attendants in the business aviation field,” said Dean Walters, an aviation director for business aircraft operations in Lansing, MI.

Owner of Great Lakes Air Ventures, Dale Foerschler, agrees that the mission is to prepare and grow the number of students interested in aviation.

Students will have the opportunity for field trips to various locations, such as this hangar at Mason-Jewett airport in Mason, MI. | Photo Credit: Brian Richard Griffin

“Based on that premise, we wanted to start looking at [a] younger age, [...] and start grooming them from the beginning as professional pilots. That started the conversation, and then we ended up talking to Dr. Hornak and Holt was interested to start the program,” said Foerschler.

Holt’s new aviation club is planned to be a six-week program held at the high school on Wednesday mornings and is open to any student who might be interested. Students can sign up in the counseling office, and there will be an informational meeting on March 28th at 3pm in the East MIC room.

Below is the promotional video published from Holt Public:

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