WWVA Offers Aviation Class Students learn about aircraft in a hands-on way

Last year Walla Walla Valley Academy was given the opportunity by aviation professors at Walla Walla University to help in restoring and partially rebuilding a Pietenpol Air Camper for class credit. John Deming, principal, and Keith Wells, vice principal, jumped at the idea.

“It provided a great opportunity for the kids of WWVA that were interested in planes,” says Wells.

Certified instructors direct the class on the campus of Martin Airfield in College Place, Wash. While visiting one of two hangars, I observed the class working on wings of the plane directed by Don Baeis. The six students enrolled in the class were ironing out wrinkles in the the poly fiber fabric that was glued to the structure with poly tack. The main body of the plane is already constructed, but students are working on building and restoring the wings.

The class instructs students in air training and mechanical restoration and does not require a fee. It’s a unique experience for the students to help out and learn something not normally taught in high school.

“I want to learn how a plane works,” says Nate Chung, a junior, “I just really like planes.”

Being near Walla Walla University and Walla Walla Community College also means that academically eligible students have the opportunity to take courses for college credit in their junior and/or senior years. In addition, WWVA students can participate in music programs and athletic camps offered by those institutions.

It remains to be seen whether this course or something similar will be offered in the years to come, but WWVA is no stranger to working in tandem with the university; and it is hoped that this is just one opportunity in a long line of those to come.

January 01, 2011 / Upper Columbia Conference