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Bristol, Tenn. JROTC students spend a school day in the sky

F.L.I.G.H.T. Foundation

BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. -- It wasn't a typical school day for JROTC students at Bristol Tennessee High School.

Fourteen students participated in "Flight Orientation" through the F.L.I.G.H.T. Foundation, which promotes education and awareness of the aviation industry. Ten of the students had never flown in a plane.

"We just celebrated in June flying over 10,000 students," Bill Powley said. "With these 14, we're somewhere around 10,220."

Air travel is expected to double over the next 20 years, according to the International Air Transport Association. Meanwhile, Boeing says 790,000 new pilots will be needed to meet that demand.

Luckily, Bristol Tennessee High School junior Logan Dye is hooked.

"It was actually kind of fun and exciting. Kind of nervous flying up that high. Scared of heights, but I overcame that today," Dye said.

Students get the chance to help taxi and steer the plane as part of the experience.

"I was really nervous my teeth started chattering," Kaly Schmidt said. "He went up, and then he would put a bag on top of the controls and then he'd go straight down. We felt like we were in space."

With progress continuing at Aerospace Park, and Northeast State producing a pipeline of aviation talent, a school day in the sky might be the perfect recruiting tool.

"It might inspire them to go into maintenance or some aerospace industry, it doesn't have to be flying. A 15-20 minute flight is about the cheapest thing you can do to get somebody excited about aviation," Powley said.

You can learn more about the F.L.I.G.H.T. Foundation at their website, here.

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