High School students of Clay, Jackson and Pickett counties can participate next year in Overton County’s aviation classes.
The partnership comes from a grant designed to increase rural learning opportunities about unmanned aircraft systems. Overton County Director of Schools Mark Winningham said the $179,000 will be used for equipment for students to tune-in virtually.
“They will also have opportunities to learn about drones and different types of equipment that is used in aviation and drone operations,” Winningham said. “It is just an opportunity those districts might not have other wise.”
Winningham said the aviation class counts as a dual credit for MTSU and focuses on career readiness. The class has been popular among Overton students with several continuing their aviation aspirations. Winningham said he expects that same excitement in the neighboring districts.
“We have a teacher on staff at Livingston Academy who is a licensed aviation pilot,” Winningham said. “He has been teaching aviation classes at the high school for several years. It has allowed several of our students to attend classes at MTSU to go into aviation as a career. This just expands that.”
Winningham the partnership played a role in receiving the 2020 Perkins Reserve Grant.
“We think it is because of our partners that we partnered with, and the fact that we are a rural school system, and they are rural school systems,” Winningham said.
The goes further than just traditional airplanes and helicopters. Students can learn about hot air balloons, rockets, and unmanned aircraft systems. Students can participate in programming and navigating drones and train on an aircraft simulator with dual pilot controls with cockpit views.