The Pax River Flight Academy recently wrapped up its second year of operation at the James A. Forrest Career and Technology Center, graduating 20 students from this year’s program. Two students were awarded scholarships from The Patuxent Partnership to attend a week long training program at the National Flight Academy (NFA) in Pensacola, Florida based on their outstanding performance during the school year.
The NFA is a 102,000 square-foot four-story structure designed to be a fully immersive experience. The adventure begins when students enter the building – a virtual aircraft carrier called Ambition. Each deck of Ambition is designed scenically and theatrically to simulate a modern aircraft carrier. The first deck houses the galley, mess hall, administrative spaces and the aircraft hangar bays. The second deck is dedicated to academic spaces including the operations and intelligence centers. The third and fourth decks house crew quarters, lounges, and activity rooms. It is easy for students to forget they are inside a building and not on a real aircraft carrier.
Two students, Patrick Russell and Jeffrey Knipe, were nominated for an all inclusive scholarship provided by The Patuxent Partnership. The award was given in recognition of their exceptional efforts during the school year at the Pax River Flight Academy. “Every mission we did was a success,” said Jeffrey, “although the week went by extremely fast and some tasks were much harder than others, it was definitely worth it in the end. I learned so much while I was there. The Naval Aviation Museum and the IMAX film about the Magic of Flight were very cool as well.” In addition to attending the NFA program and the Naval Aviation Museum the students were able to meet the crew of the Blue Angels. At the end of the NFA program the students graduated and received their wings.
The Pax River Flight Academy was made possible by a grant from NAWCAD to The Patuxent Partnership. The grant allowed for an Aviation Classroom Experience (ACE) to be developed and implemented within the St. Mary’s County Public School system. The ACE at the Tech Center is a scaled down version of the students experience at the National Flight Academy.
The Patuxent Partnership works with government, industry and academia on initiatives in science and technology, hosts programs of interest to NAVAIR and the broader DoD community, and supports workforce development including education initiatives and professional development. Visit www.paxpartnership.org