HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- The number of airline pilots nationwide is dwindling, and it's more important than ever for young people to learn about and pursue opportunities in aerospace education and aviation careers.
Now FlyQuest, a non-profit Huntsville organization, is taking steps to spread the word to children looking for an interesting career and show them why the aviation industry may be a good fit.
FlyQuest recognizes that careers in aviation aren't talked about in schools, and hands-on learning is often really expensive. So they've taken a big bus and transformed it into a mobile aviation classroom.
This classroom gives insight into the mechanics of flying, airport operations, aircraft maintenance, and aircraft control.
"Obviously we've got a flight simulator, an air traffic control simulator, we've got a cutaway of an engine so they can see how an engine really works," explained Russ Lewey, who's in charge of training and education for FlyQuest.
All of these are learning tools that keep kids engaged and interested.
"They get enough slides on a board, books and stuff like that," Lewey said. "We found that if we can get their hands involved, their minds will follow."
The industry needs young people, and FlyQuest hopes to spark the curiosity that can create a career.
"They might never think about the idea that they could use these skills-- that maybe something they do with a video game or something they do working on their car-- toward an actual career that can support them and their family long-term," said Mark Spencer, co-founder of FlyQuest.
The bus will carry the classroom to kids all across North Alabama. Students will enter with their feet on the ground, and just might leave with their head in the clouds.
If you're interested in bringing the mobile aviation classroom to your school, you can fill out this form to request a visit.