ViewFinder: More Knowledge Takes Flight

♪♪ Narrator: Coming up, some high school students with high-flying career ambitions get real-world education and training in southern California [Sound of engine starting up] Narrator: Discover an elementary school in the heart of the central valley where the world’s largest aerospace company helps grow future pilots Step into the cockpit and join an aerial formation of restored World War II airplanes honoring the brave Americans who were part of our greatest generation It’s all next on More Knowledge Takes Flight ♪♪ Narrator: For many people pursuing aviation careers, it can be time-consuming and expensive to attend ground school to learn the basics of operating and flying aircraft [Sound of engine starting up] Narrator: But students in southern California have a much more affordable path, a 2-year certification course they can complete in high school Instructor: Hold on there’s, there’s traffic, do you see there? Student: There’s traffic No, we have to go for this one Mia: I’ve been interested in aviation for a very long time I can like learn and train, and actually like gain the information and knowledge in order to be ready for like actual flying Instructor: And our objective is to just go straight back with the tail John: My brother came along and was like, “Hey do you want to come and build airplanes?” And I was like, “heck, yes!” And so, we got joined, we joined in with the airplane restoration project and I’m now, just got an internship with the airport I’m working towards an aviation certificate with the school, and I’m loving it Instructor: Now we’re going to check the tires that they’re in proper inflation Narrator: Is this flight school? Instructor: Because we’ll do a full walkaround and we’ll end it at that tire Narrator: No, it’s high school Instructor:Let’s bring it over here Narrator: John Greene is getting his wings at River Springs Charter School in Riverside And Mia Kuyumjian is practicing her skills at Canyon High School, 35 miles away in Anaheim They’re among only a handful of high schools in California offering aviation as an elective course Two different flight paths to possible careers John’s program takes place near Flabob Airport, one of the oldest surviving airports in California Instructor: Is that why you’re still facing your ridge? Mia: I think that’s good right there Narrator: Mia’s aspirations are taking flight thanks to the determination of teacher and pilot Steve Smith Steve Smith: I felt like a lot of our students were just taking it because it sounded like a fun elective without really knowing the potential behind it Narrator: His program started as a 1-year class Students learned how planes fly and the fundamentals of operating them Then he added a second year, Aviation II A true ground school for pilots in training Student: Yeah, it has to be somewhere here Right there John Wayne John Wayne, there we are Steve Smith: I started to see a higher level of students that are looking to do something with aviation And they’re, they’re taking the class because it’s appealing to them as a potential career, not just a fun elective Zachary: A lot of my weekends do get taken up, but the thing is I love doing it It’s not necessary, it doesn’t even feel like education because we’re out there, we’re on the flight lines Madeline: I would definitely love to be able to have this as a career Kathleen Hermsmeyer: We believe it’s just not good enough to give our students a high school diploma We want our children to be empowered, we want them to hit the ground running when they graduate from high school really knowing what their interests are, what their aptitudes are, and what they might want to do for a career Narrator: For both schools, aviation is part of the so-called “STEM” initiative, a national drive to re-focus public education on science, technology, engineering, and math California has pumped 1.5 billion dollars into public schools offering career technical education, or CTE programs, such as these Kathy Boyd: It’s just an exciting thing because you see kids getting a lot more engaged, a lot more excited about learning, and we know they’re learning those core skills that are going to take them into the workplace and actually maybe get them a job Student: I’m thinking we do a right pattern this time Narrator: In addition to those workplace skills, students are learning the academic basics Steve Smith: We cover science We cover, we definitely incorporate technology We discuss a little bit on the engineering side with physics and everything else in the design, and then of course math We use math for calculating performance data, weight and balance, and everything else Zachary: It just kind of connects all the subjects and I think it’s a really good thing Even history, I mean we learned about World War II, the aviation side of it, and World War I when the Air Force just began Narrator: Before even the Air Force began, a couple of aviation students named Orville and Wilbur Wright made history with a plane like this one O ver at Flabob Airport, a replica plane is part of an internship program for River Springs students interested

in technical careers Fred Culick: There’s so much you can do if you know how to use your hands and a few tools And it’s really, I think it’s part of learning how to use your brain, because it’s what your brain’s using, you know, you have to teach it somehow, and you don’t just teach it by tap-tap-tapping on a board all the time Narrator: There’s also a financial benefit for students training at their public school when compared to the cost of private training Steve Smith: Typically, you’re looking anywhere from about $8,000 to potentially $14,000 just to get that private pilot’s license With the simulators, they’re getting real flight lessons, just in small pieces So, I’m, I’m teaching them the maneuvers and the procedures that they would learn, that they would perform in an actual airplane, and they get to practice it here for free Narrator: The simulators, and computers, and 3-D printer are among the purchases Canyon High School made with CTE grant money The engineless airplane parked in the school’s former auto shop was free, a donation from an industry contact Steve Smith: Some of these students don’t necessarily enjoy the, the classroom portion They want to get their hands dirty They want to work with their hands, and we don’t have many opportunities for them to do that anymore So, the flaps in this airplane, it’s a, it almost looks like a parking brake I get to go around the airplane, say “OK what is this? What does it do?” And they’re taking what they saw on paper or on a screen, and now they’re seeing it in real life and they get to touch it and get to move the aileron and see how it works Narrator: While students dismantle instruments and get real airplanes oiled up and checked out at River Springs and Flabob, both schools stop just shy of officially getting them off the ground There are insurance barriers, and the significant costs of fuel and maintenance [Sound of engine starting up] Narrator: So, although these planes don’t actually take off, certain students can taxi them around the runway, all part of the hands-on approach George Essel: I tell my teachers “I don’t want you to be a teacher I want you to be a facilitator of learning I want you to provide the resources, provide the challenges to students and guide them through self-discovery to learn the content.” [Sound of engine] Narrator: But still, why aviation? In southern California, long a hotbed of aviation and aerospace, an urgent need is looming Steve Smith: The pilot shortage is coming And that’s, it’s a real concern for the airlines especially Pilots have a mandatory retirement age of 65 that’s set by the FAA, and so the concern is that we are not going to have enough pilots to fill those jobs that are about to be available Madeline: Throughout the next few years there’s going to be less pilots, and so I think starting at this young of age and just being able to get that head start is something that most people don’t get Zachary: All of us were just really lucky to be able to be brought up in the program at our age Narrator: Over in Riverside, River Springs Charter School eagerly anticipates building new aviation classrooms right next to the runway at Flabob Airport While at Canyon, Steve Smith hopes to build aviation up to a 4-year program, perhaps even offering training in drone operations Steve Smith: I feel like a program like this, it’s just going give them another reason to do their best in school, in their other classes If they decide, “yeah, I want to be a pilot,” well then, your education matters and you have, you have something that you’re working toward It’s not just “I just need to graduate high school.” [Sound of engine] Narrator: Experts estimate there will be a need for 600,000 new pilots globally by the year 2035 While much of that demand is in the Asia-Pacific region, nearly 20% of those new aviation jobs will be right here in North America Airlines are taking notice An Emirates airline has responded by building a new flight school in Dubai that can train 600 pilots at a time Narrator: The town of Reedley near Fresno is part of a region known for growing fruits and vegetables, but now it’s growing aviation careers We’ll visit the first school in the U.S where Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company, partnered with the school to provide a flight simulator and opportunities leading to careers as pilots, engineers, mechanics, and other aviation-related jobs ♪♪ Narrator: Anthony is a 5th grade student at Jefferson Elementary in Reedley A town of around 25,000 people, about 30 minutes outside

of Fresno He’s made a name for himself as the school’s top pilot on a new flight simulator located in the school library Anthony: I’ve actually never been in a plane I would like to go visit Spain Because it’s really big and I think it’s really cool Like I’ve seen pictures and videos of like YouTubers go there, and I just really think it would be a really nice place to visit Narrator: Most of Anthony’s classmates have never been on an airplane either Many haven’t traveled outside the Central Valley Renee Delport: Reedley is actually known as the World’s Fruit Basket By virtue of that, a lot of our students’ parents work in the agricultural industry So, everything from laboring in the fields all the way through owning packing sheds and anywhere in between Nicole Zieba: So, when you think Reedley, when you think Central Valley, you often do think fruit and agriculture We’re the World’s Fruit Basket What people don’t really know about is we have a rich aviation history in the Central Valley that dates all the way back to World War II Narrator: When Nicole Zieba became Reedley’s City Manager in 2011, the city had a 33% unemployment rate By 2018 that number dropped to 12% but it was still three times the national average In an effort to lessen the reliance on agriculture, Reedley looked towards the past and decided to invest in aviation Through grant funding they purchased four all-electric airplanes The goal, to offer low-cost pilot training Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company took notice Douglas Larson: Boeing became aware of the city of Reedley and their interest in aviation through their electric aircraft program And as a result of the discussions in that project, this idea of bringing the gamification of simulators to the elementary and middle school was born Narrator: Jefferson is the first school in the nation to be part of Boeing’s effort to encourage more young people to choose careers in aviation Douglas Larson: Boeing publishes what we call the pilot and technician outlook, and that forecast of labor needs over the next 20 years expects that we need 804,000 new pilots and close to 800,000 new aircraft maintainers globally over the next 20 years The studies, the research, the surveys we’ve done shows that the majority of people that are active and excited in training or in their careers first had their exposure to aviation in their formative years, you know ages 8 to 11 Renee Delport: When a student sits in the flight simulators seat, they’re actually sitting in what feels like a pilot’s chair They’re actually holding onto a yoke that feels like that of what a pilot would hold onto They see dials, they see all sorts of different measurements that you would see in a cockpit Deisi Muniz: The simulator not only allows students to change the type of aircraft they’re flying; it also allows to change what type of weather they’re flying in So, once they are able to master flight, they can start working on, how do you fly if it’s foggy? How do you fly in the rain? Anthony: I really like it because I like using the controller a lot That’s one of my favorite parts of it, and I really like doing other modes on it Like there’s military jets and like there’s other courses Renee Delport: We know we’re giving them an opportunity to expose them to careers that could really help change their lives And they could be pilots, they could be flight crew, they could be aviation mechanics And we know that these are good paying jobs that eventually someday they may have the opportunity to go into Deisi Muniz: I’ve never seen such awesome teamwork Where they’re not fighting, they’re not pushing They wait and they’re encouraging each other, cheering each other on They’re coaching one another If you do this, this is what it does If you do that, this is what will happen Kaileigh: I want to be a pilot because I like the view Narrator: Kaileigh first got interested in aviation when she learned about Amelia Earhart in school The 4th grader says she wants to become a pilot Kaileigh: This is actually really fun, and I want to like do it every single day Narrator: By piquing the interest early in elementary school, once students get to Reedley High School, they can take dual enrollment classes at Reedley College, earning high school and college credit simultaneously Reedley College, established in 1926, is best known for its agriculture programs But students can also earn an Associate degree in flight science or aviation maintenance technology If the current students using the flight simulator at Jefferson see the aviation pathway through, in just 10 years they could be certified commercial pilots Anthony: Right

Deisi Muniz: I can see how this is going to bring a new perspective to our town It’s aviation We’re a farming community This is a new look ♪♪ Narrator: World War II was fought on the battlefields of Europe and the Pacific theater, but here at home our valley airbases Mather, McClellan, and Travis played vital roles in helping America win the war Opened in 1918, Mather Field was the valley’s first military base located in Sacramento county Named for Lieutenant Carl Mather who was killed during pilot training in World War I, Mather Field was designed as a major training facility for upcoming pilots, navigators, and bombardiers Opened in 1938, McClellan Air Force Base was Sacramento county’s second military base Originally named Pacific Air Depot, the base was re-named Sacramento Air Depot, and finally McClellan Air Force Base, named for Major Hezekiah McClellan, the base was designed as a maintenance facility for frontline aircraft like the B-25 bomber used in the Pacific theater By 1942 McClellan and Mather were in full operation Mather was the only navigational school for the Army Air Force, but the U.S. Department of War decided another base was needed in Fairfield because of its proximity to major east-west railroads and highways Travis Air Base was originally named Fairfield-Suisun Army Air Base, but its name was changed in 1951 to honor General Robert Travis, who lost his life on a mission during the Korean war At their peak, these valley airbases had up to 30,000 employees Many came from all over the U.S. but ended up making the Central Valley their home ♪♪ Narrator: Sometimes a thrilling aerial adventure offers its own unique educational experience Rob Stewart takes the co-pilot’s seat in a formation of four restored World War II airplanes It’s a chance to soar high above the valley and honor the brave Americans whose aerial exploits made them part of the greatest generation ♪♪ ♪♪ Rob Stewart: Chuck Wahl, good to see you Chuck Wahl: Good to see you again Rob Rob Stewart: Yeah, nice to be out here with you, in front of your beautiful plane Chuck Wahl: Thank you, it was a lot of fun to take up people and show them what it was like to fly the older airplanes and experience what I get to do fortunately all the time To be able to carry on flying these very airplanes that are left over from World War II, it, it’s an honor, quite frankly [Sound of engine starting up] Control Tower on radio: Navy Row 8-2-2 right taxi via Alpha Bravo and we’ll see you on the 310 Chuck Wahl: Navy flight taxi via Alpha Bravo to 2-2 right, thank you sir Okay Rob, you ready? Rob Stewart: I’m ready! That is so cool ♪♪ This is spectacular You must love this Chuck Wahl: Yeah, it’s, it’s just, it’s the way life is for me I wouldn’t change it for the world ♪♪ Rob Stewart: Oh, wow, look Chuck, they are all forming around! Chuck Wahl: Yeah, what we are going to do, is an element takeoff Control Tower on radio: Navy Row 8-2-2 right, clear for takeoff Chuck Wahl: Clear for takeoff, runway 2-2 right, Navy flight Release the brakes Rob Stewart: Oh my! We’re going! Here we go! [laughs] ♪♪ Chuck Wahl: So, Rob, what we are doing here is a standard formation join up, and we are going to do a left 270 here, and I have my one wing man on my wing that I, took off with me And if you look back behind you, you’ll see the other flight of two airplanes Rob Stewart: Oh my gosh, there they are! Okay that is one of the wildest things I’ve ever seen Chuck Wahl: This is how all your Naval aviators trained during World War II and still to this day Rob Stewart: Look at that! I can’t believe how close everybody is

That is so much skill, Chuck Chuck Wahl: Well, these guys have been doing it an awful long time It’s a lot of fun, it’s a passion It’s something that everybody takes very professionally ♪♪ Alright guys, nice join up, by the way, looked just perfect Great job! Rob Stewart: Chuck, why is this formation, and why was this formation, so important when it comes to training Chuck Wahl: Well, we can do this entire flight without using a radio, it’s very important that everything is structured, and everybody knows what’s going on And you can take four airplanes, and go out on patrol, you can go out into a bombing mission or a fighter mission, and you have plenty of friends to help you out when things turn bad And now what I am going to do is give a, an airplane signal, not a hand signal, to go in trail ♪♪ Rob Stewart: [laughing] Chuck Wahl: So, you’ll find that the guy on my left here is going to go back behind me As soon as the yellow airplane and the silver airplane move back farther ♪♪ Rob Stewart: This is honestly, one of the most spectacular things I have ever seen Chuck Wahl: We have a lot of fun doing this, I am glad you are enjoying it Though you probably can’t see it back behind you Rob, but what I got is basically a daisy chain of airplanes behind me. And as lead, you want to make all of your turns and maneuvers very gentle, because you got three other airplanes flying off of you So very quick, abrupt actions are really not the best thing to do because it will catch your wingman off guard Rob Stewart: Are these techniques still taught today? Chuck Wahl: Yes, from the Air Force, to Marines, and the Navy, all branches of service still practice, train and practice all these maneuvers, and they’re still used in combat sorties to this very day ♪♪ Navy Flight, smoke on, smoke on, now ♪♪ Smoke off, smoke off, now ♪♪ Rob Stewart: I can’t help but think about the moving history right now This plane was used back, during World War II, and saw some really tough times and now look what it is used for Such beauty and enjoyment Chuck Wahl: Yeah thousands and thousands of aviators went through training in this very airplane to learn how to take off and land on an aircraft carrier, do air work maneuvers, instrument training And when they finally checked out and got their wings, they were given a fighter and sent off to war ♪♪ Rob Stewart: So, we are sitting here the canopy is open, we are literally in open air And it just feels so peaceful, Chuck Chuck Wahl: It’s the way it ought to be, Rob ♪♪ The next maneuver we are going to do Rob, is called a breakup and rejoin Navy Flight, Smoke on, smoke on, now ♪♪ Smoke off, smoke off, now, and a kiss and a break There’s our break We are going to pull 2-Gs and a 180-degree turn Rob Stewart: Oh my God! [laughs] Chuck Wahl: See your smoke off to the left I am going to roll off level, and now we wait for the other four airplanes to check in, in trail Rob Stewart: I was not expecting that! [laughs] Chuck Wahl: And we are going to go to the right, and now watch what everybody does off the right-hand wing The blue airplane is going to come right up to the line of string here to us, and just park it right on the wing and sit there The yellow airplane is going to come right up on his wing, and scoot underneath and right to the outside of the turn There he goes, across and under And the number four airplane follows that airplane because he is the wing man for that element lead Rob Stewart: Wow! ♪♪ Do you think about those veterans when you are up here, I know I do Chuck Wahl: Oh, all the time

My grandfather flew in World War II, my dad flew in Vietnam, and I’ve spent my entire life in an aviation career, and I only hope someday my son and daughter decide they want to continue flying, whether it’s military or civilian ♪♪ ♪♪ Okay, we got our gear down, locked, Gas is on the right tank, and the flaps are down, airspeed is check Control Tower on radio: Navy Flight runway right 2-2 right clear to land Chuck Wahl: Clear land 2-2 right Navy Flight, thank you sir ♪♪ Rob Stewart: Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow! ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪