FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – West Florence High School students aspiring a career in the engineering or technical field are getting a head start in the classroom. A new hands-on course, Aerospace Engineering, is preparing future pilots and engineers by teaching them real-world skills.
“Back when I was like 5, I always wanted to be a pilot or something with aerospace. I always wanted to. I loved it,” Dominic Dawson, a sophomore Aerospace Engineering student said.
Dominic dreams about being a pilot in the Air Force. He is committed to learning to prepare for his future. Every day as he and his classmates are learning flight fundamentals, calculating air pressure and solving algorithms.
“I can teach them all I want that when you lower the flaps you are going to create drag and slow the plane down and it’s also going to pitch upon you. I can say that all I want and they can try to visualize it,” Mr. Ward, the Aerospace Engineering teacher said.
While students learn the foundations of aircraft at the desk, it’s in the new simulator seat where they fly out of the Florence Airport, put their knowledge to the test, and watch their new skills come together.
“When they sit in the flight simulator and they lower the flaps and all of a sudden the plane is pitching up on them. Now they understand!” Ward said.
Students and Mr. Ward said the work can oftentimes be challenging. “It was hard at first, but now it’s easy. The pilot has to do a lot of calculating, managing stuff when flying the plane,” Dawson said.
“Once they sit there they want to take off, want to land, they want to do multi-engine, they want to navigate using certain instruments only,” Ward said.
The course has something in store for those who may or may not be interested in the field. Students learn skills working with advanced equipment and technology.
Lessons can start by solving math problems, then lead to how to build high tech materials. “I think what’s key here for Florence One is they’ve decided that our students are going to compete in the global economy. All the new jobs coming out and everything even with self-driving cars and all that are high tech positions,” Mr. Ward said.
The math equations, aircraft calculations, and technology applications are giving students a jumpstart to their future careers. “..And the simulator helps me apply what I learn in class so I can be prepared for my future,” Dominic said.
Aerospace Engineering is one of eight stem courses offered at West Florence High School. Mr. Ward says the course also teaches skills used in computer and biomedical science fields among many others.