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Students get exposure to piloting profession

Enquirer photos/Lauren Jackson


Students learn more about becoming pilots with Lift Academy, taking part in a flight simulation.

By Lauren Jackson lauren.jackson@hartselleenquirer.com

Hartselle High students in the engineering, computer science and Civil Air Patrol programs were exposed to a flight simulation lab last week. The students were able to learn more about careers in the aviation field and take part in a virtual flight.
Shelbi Tierney, an admissions recruiter with Lift Academy who travels with the mobile flight lab to different schools, said the primary focus has been to expose students to career options they might not have considered. “Lift Academy was created to make an aviation career more attainable for any student,” Tierney said.

Kim Pittman is the lead engineering teacher with Hartselle High, and she said she learned about Lift Academy while at a conference. She said she felt it was an excellent way to expose students to another career option after high school.
“It’s tremendously important to expose them to another career option that they have,” Pittman said. “It’s a very lucrative career – something they can do for the rest of their lives and enjoy and something they might not have been exposed to before.

“It’s just to give them more of those career options, which is what we are trying to do here at Hartselle High School,” Pittman added.
Students were able to fly a virtual plane during their visit with Lift Academy and learn more about the program.

“I think they are extremely excited about it. I think it is also helping them see if this something they want to do or not,” Pittman said. “Some of them come out, and they don’t feel well with the motion, and some of them are coming out very excited.”
Lift Academy is based out of Indianapolis, Indiana, but stopped at Hartselle High School on the way back from an air show in Florida. Tierney said the simulation is one way they can give students a small experience of what it would be like in the program. “It’s a mobile flight simulation truck that we take around the country and expose students to the world of aviation,”? Tierney explained. “We have four virtual reality stations that are flying our multi-engine aircraft. It exposes the students to what it is like to fly an aircraft and shows them a little of how it will be operated if they choose to come to our program.”

Tierney Lift Academy guarantees students a career with Republic Airline after completion, with starting pay of $45 an hour. With a growing shortage of pilots worldwide, Tierney said an aviation career is an excellent choice for many students.

“There is a major pilot shortage across the entire world. Within the next 10 years, there is going to be a lot of airline pilots that are going to be retiring,” Tierney said, “so we are trying to expose students to aviation at an early age.”