This semester, a new class called AS 120 was made available for all junior JROTC members. The class is a semester long dual enrollment class that teaches students aviation and aeronautical science, or the ability to fly and operate aircraft.
The purpose behind the class is to reach out to students who are in JROTC and interest them in military careers that deal with aviation, as well as teach them about it. The initiative started when the Governor of Florida sought out Embry Riddle University, one of the best aeronautical science colleges in the nation, to try and bring some of the classes the University teaches down to the high school level.
“For most of the people that I flew with, it was just kind of one of those things where they never thought about doing it until something happened, where an event in their life triggered that passion, and from that point on, the bug bit them, and they’ve loved it ever since. So that’s kind of what we’re hoping to do a little bit, plant that seed and maybe grow some aviation careers,” said Kenneth Engasser, JROTC and AS 120 teacher, who was formerly an Army aircraft pilot.
The curriculum the students will be learning about this semester include the basic fundamentals of flight, how to fly in certain weather conditions, how to read weather reports, how to differentiate between rules when flying when the pilot can’t see as opposed to flying when the pilot can’t see, and aircraft design and its functionality, and other basic concepts.
The curriculum taught in AS 120 is different from JROTC because the skills that students are taught in JROTC are skills students are familiar with, such as public speaking and writing.
“With aviation it’s all brand new. The things that they’re seeing they’re literally seeing for the first time. As a teacher, it’s kind of exciting for me to be able to teach somebody something from the very beginning, from the ground up,” said Engasser.
AS 120 is the first class in three classes that are part of the aviation program. The next two classes, AS 220 and AS 235, will be offered next year to this year’s 120 students, as well as another AS 120 class.
Nick Sowell // Co-Sports Editor