SPRINGDALE -- A helicopter landed outside Har-Ber High School on Tuesday to give students a chance to learn about the aircraft.
The school is in its first year of offering an aviation class aimed at drone and pilot training and in its third year of an aviation club, said Jason McMullen, who teaches the course. Thirty-one sophomores, juniors and seniors are in the class, and about 50 students belong to club. High school students in the club don't have to attend Har-Ber.
Representatives from FlyARH, a Springdale company offering site-seeing helicopter rides and training in flying helicopters, brought the aircraft to show students how the helicopter works and answer questions about careers in aviation.
McMullen said the students have been learning in class about different mechanical components of helicopters.
"I can give lectures and show PowerPoints, but they've got to see it for themselves," he said.
Austin Riley, chief pilot at FlyARH, said students interested in careers in aviation need to make sure they stay out of trouble with the law, maintain good health and study free resources available through the Federal Aviation Administration. They can also take introductory courses at places such as FlyARH where they will be allowed to fly a helicopter alongside an instructor.
Lukas Croson, a 17-year-old senior, said he had the opportunity to take such a class.
"It was mind-blowing," he said.
Croson said he chose to take the high school aviation class because he likes to travel and was excited to learn more about planes and other aircraft. He is considering pursuing a pilot's license.
Daniel Hughes, general manager at Summit Aviation at Springdale Municipal Airport, was also at the event Tuesday. He said Summit provides infrastructure such as fueling or towing services for aircraft flying into Springdale. Aviation students will volunteer with Summit at an airport open house set for Oct. 24.
Several aviation careers exist, such as being a commercial pilot or flying helicopters for emergency medical services, Riley told the students.
McMullen said local pilots have talked to the aviation club, and the students have visited the Northwest Arkansas National Airport and Rogers Municipal Airport. He also looks for opportunities for students to fly with pilots.
About three years ago, McMullen was telling students about his passion for aviation and an old flight simulator he owned. Students showed interest, and they formed an aviation club.
"Because of the demand of how many students were wanting to get into it, a lot of the students were asking about how they can be trained. And so I started proposing to our building and district administration about the possibility of adding an aviation curriculum," he said.
Summit Aviation and Har-Ber High School’s aviation club will host an open house from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 24 at Springdale Municipal Airport, 802 Airport Ave. Aircraft, boats and cars will be on display. The event is free and open to the public.
Source: Summit Aviation
Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reporter Dave Perozek contributed to this report. Alex Golden may be reached by email at [email protected]
Print Headline: Up-close aviation education