Through an educational initiative designed to provide students of color with career access to an emerging aviation industry sector, the Academy Charter School is expanding its Career and Technical Education (CTE) program to include drone and aviation technology.
“Our strategic objective is to improve the opportunities for students of color to enter the aviation industry, which currently lacks diversity. We are achieving this by providing rigorous academic training with a particular emphasis on unmanned aircraft and mechatronic engineering, a sector of the aviation community that is experiencing enormous growth. By doing so, our scholars will contribute to increasing the representation of African-American pilots in our nation’s aviation industry, which currently stands at only 3.9 percent according to the 2021 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,” stated Dr. Nicholas Stapleton, the Academy’s Chief Academic Officer.
Dr. Stapleton explained that this initiative also allows students to establish connections with aviation industry professionals, which is crucial in creating a network of mentors. In addition, the school is currently negotiating an articulation agreement with Vaughn College of Aeronautics based adjacent to LaGuardia Airport in Queens, New York.
The Academy already has two students who have been formally certified as licensed drone pilots by the U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Aviation Administration, joining a small but growing group of Americans authorized to do so as the global drone market is expected to reach more than $55 billion within three years.
“We take our inspiration from the men who fought a two-front war during World War II,” Dr. Stapleton observed. “The Tuskegee Airmen had to fight the Nazi Luftwaffe in the air and American segregation on the ground. That challenge would have grounded lesser men, but their ability to shatter those barriers has left a lasting legacy that still inspires people of color to take to the air.”
The Academy Charter School’s Drone Program on the school’s Uniondale campus stands out because of its strong partnerships with local and national unmanned aircraft and aviation sector members. Its courses follow the guidelines within the FAA-approved Operations Manual, whose coursework includes emphasis on STEM disciplines, flight safety, flight simulation, mechanical engineering, and the unique abilities and flight characteristics of drones.
The Academy’s CTE program uses Zephyr Simulation software that includes flight training, obstacle path training, and drone race courses. The innovative software tracks student/instructor progress, creating courses and assignments.
Dr. Stapleton explained, “We have the capability of immersing students in programs that leverage the latest in technology for the purpose of placing them in an industry that is expanding aviation in a manner that would leave the Tuskegee Airmen amazed, proud, and shaking the hands of our graduates. The torch has been passed, and we are prepared to soar.”
For additional information about this program, contact Dr. Nicholas Stapleton, Academy Charter School’s Chief Academic Officer, via email at email@example.com