Aviation program takes flight at Craven Community College

Published: Aug. 28, 2019 at 8:17 PM EDT
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A new aviation program is taking flight at Craven Community College, as educators prepare students for a career in the air.

A one-of-a-kind flight simulator is helping the dreams of new aviation students take off.

"I want to be able to fly people around, and them to look at me, and little kids to look at me like I was and say, 'wow...Look mom, a girl is doing that.' you know? I want to do that too," explained Charissa Edwards, an aviation student.

Edwards say the new program is giving her the opportunity to pursue a lifelong goal.

"I always flew when I was a little girl and I loved it, and they always let me meet the pilot. 'you know, I want to do that one day.'"

The new flight simulator at the school's Havelock campus, is the first among community college's across the country.

It's part of the school's new Aviation Management and Career Pilot program.

"It's an advanced simulator, FAA approved, full motion-- it's phenomenal for learning to fly," says Program Director Mark Marsteller of the new simulator.

"I wasn't expecting to have a really expensive flight simulator or anything like that, but I think it's a great opportunity," added Coby Burdock, a fellow aviation student,

The state-of-the-art equipment, can simulate weather patterns, time of day, and other obstacles a pilot might encounter, and helps prepare students for their first flight.

"A little overwhelming at first. But my instructor made me comfortable and let me know that nothing is going to happen," Edwards added.

And with an abundance of jobs, the new program will help create future employees in an industry of need.

"In the next five years, there's going to be a severe shortage that will effect aviation as a whole. And we're doing our best to get in there," said Marsteller.

A recent study by Boeing estimated a need for more than 600,000 pilots over the next 20 years. Students interested in the new aviation program can contact the college at the (252)444-6005.