Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Visit Aeronautical Center
Vol.8 Issue 5

This month, the Aeronautical Center hosted educators from across the state and nation to showcase the work being accomplished at the Center, and to support their efforts in educating high school students who are participating in the four-year "You Can Fly" Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) curriculum, which is being taught in 58 schools across the state of Oklahoma. The AOPA curriculum is an incredible program with more than 12,000 students, in 1,000 classrooms across the country who are learning about exciting opportunities in aviation. The Aeronautical Center is excited to partner with the schools in Oklahoma that are teaching this curriculum, and looks forward to supporting their efforts in raising awareness and enthusiasm for the many exciting careers available in the aviation industry.

Oklahoma is currently ranked #1 in the Nation for high schools teaching aviation curriculum. Many of Oklahoma’s school districts are geographically located in rural areas and are preparing themselves for implementation of the curriculum next Fall. AOPA’s ’You Can Fly’ initiative is all about building the aviation community, getting more people into the skies, and keeping them there. The centerpiece of ’You Can Fly’ is the unique (and free) High School STEM Curriculum, ensuring that all of aviation has a bright future.

Oklahoma Aeronautics: "You Can Fly" Powered by OAPA

"I want to make Oklahoma a Top Ten state in every category, and I am so proud that Oklahoma is ranked first in the nation for high schools teaching the AOPA curriculum," said Governor Kevin Stitt. "Thanks to innovative leadership and the work of Oklahoma Aeronautics, we are helping young people find a passion for aviation and aerospace. As a pilot, I am excited to see what the future brings for the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission and the aerospace industry in our state."

Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell said, "From CareerTech certifications to a dozen collegiate programs, Oklahoma has led the way in aerospace education for decades. The implementation of AOPA Aviation Curriculum in high schools across the state marks the next milestone in growing aerospace talent in Oklahoma. The aerospace industry employs more than 120,000 Oklahomans, and our continued investment in education will lead to more high-paying jobs in our state."

’You Can Fly’ plays a vital role in ensuring the health of aviation, as our nation faces a looming shortage of pilots and aviation professionals. The latest Boeing Commercial Outlook calls for the need of more than 600,000 pilots and aviation technicians over the next 20 years.

In the past school year, more than 12,000 students in 1,000 classrooms across the country, in all four grades, took the curriculum and learned about exciting opportunities in aviation.

In partnership with the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission, a four-day AOPA education event was held in Norman, OK this week where the AOPA Educators class of 2022 participated in hands-on lab activities and collaborated with teachers from across the nation on the best aviation and aerospace STEM practices. In addition to classroom sessions, teachers enjoyed discovery flights provided by the OU School of Aviation Studies, and toured the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center.

AOPA President and CEO Marker Baker comments, "I’m most proud that 49% of the students in our High School program come from minority backgrounds, and 21% are female. We need more inclusion in aviation."

The program is beginning to see real dividends as among its first set of graduates; 58% are pursuing aviation-related careers (including 87% attending college, trade, or technical school).

Federal Aviation Aministration (FAA) seal