Originally created 09/29/03

High school students getting credit for flying lessons



KENNESAW, Ga. -- A unique high school program has some students jumping to reach the sky in Cobb County.

About a dozen Dominion Christian High School students will soon take part in the school's new aviation program, which gives the participants class credit while pursuing their flying licenses.

"It just further accomplishes our goals and objectives to give our students as many advantages as possible before they go off to college," said Headmaster Marc Stout.

Students spend the first semester of the yearlong program in classroom instruction during which they prepare to take the Federal Aviation Administration Private Pilot Knowledge Test needed to receive a pilot's license. The second semester is spent at McCollum Airfield in Kennesaw, where students gain the required minimum 40 hours of in-plane practice required for the license.

Students must be at least 16 years old to participate. The training costs $3,000 above what the school tuition costs.

Some students said they decided to take the class because it sounded like fun. Others said it will offer them practical experience they can use in the future.

"I'm considering going to the Naval Academy, so it would be cool to be able to already know how to fly before I go," said aviation student Elizabeth Smith, 18.

Heather Hagstrom, 18, said she was inspired to take the class by her late grandfather, who used to teach people how to fly.

"I've always just enjoyed aviation," she said.

Physics teacher Philip Polstra started the aviation class to share with students his love of flying. He also operates Phil's Flying Enterprises, Inc. at McCollum.

"Often I think the younger people have an easier time because they have better hand-eye coordination," Polstra said. "They're used to playing video games. They're also in the flying mode."