ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --
Altus High School Junior ROTC Flight OK-941 received three X-Plane 11 Simulator/Trainer Units during an unveiling celebration at AHS on Nov. 21, 2019. The simulators were funded by the Air Force Science, Technology, Engineering and Math program through the 97th Air Mobility Wing, and are programed to help educate cadets and students on the possibilities of an aviation career with a unique hands on learning experience.
Nathan Covington, the 97th AMW school liaison officer and STEM coordinator, along with Tim Busch, the Iowa Flight Training President, were responsible for acquiring the simulators in April 2019. The Air Force STEM office, where their mission statement is “empowering Air Force entities to develop, improve and coordinate STEM outreach for grades K-12 along with college level STEM projects,” funded the simulators.
“These simulators were gifted to help show the collaboration between our school district and the 97th Air Mobility Wing, along with what Air Force STEM is doing throughout the world with public education,” said Covington. “We are very tied into the public school district. We have set up different STEM labs and programs at multiple schools around the area which all help benefit the students future of education.”
All three simulators have been equipped with the latest X-Plane 11 Flight Training software. Through this training program, cadets will be able to simulate flying over 10 different aircraft, with advanced courses for cadets who progress quickly.
“These simulators give us more of a hands on experience instead of just a classroom setting,” said Cadet Lt. Col. Savannah Scales, the OK-941 unit group commander. “It gives us the chance to actually experience what we learn about in the classroom lectures, which I think is an amazing item to have at AHS.”
After becoming familiar with basic operations of the aircraft, students will be introduced to concepts in the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge and the Airplane Flying Handbook, providing students with a head start towards an aviation career.
“The simulators give cadets a way to channel their love for aviation, and, for those who want to be pilots an opportunity to learn,” said Scales. “It also allows students to start off learning about this career at a younger age, which can give them an advantage in the long run.”
With these simulators, aspiring aviators have the ability to get a taste of what they could do through an Air Force career while expanding their knowledge through a hands on learning experience found right in their classroom.
“These simulators also add diversity to the students’ education, which I believe is a very important thing,” said Covington. “Adding diversity such as STEM programs into public schools are a win-win for the students, the school district and for the Air Force in the long run. If we can help educate students now in STEM related fields, it will benefit everyone in the future.”