Aviation program hosted by Averett University is teaching teens to fly for free

DANVILLE, Va (WDBJ)- For the next two weeks, six high schools will be learning how to fly a plane during the Pathways Flight Academy at the Danville Regional Airport.

The academy was organized by the Virginia Space Grant Consortium and funded by a state grant through the Virginia Department of Aviation.

Averett University's Chief Flight Instructor, Travis Williams, says there's a national shortage of pilots.

"It's been going on for a number of years now and there are studies out there that say 600,000 pilots are going to be needed in the next 20 to 25 years." said Williams.

That state decided to fund the program giving 24 high school students, 18 at Liberty University and 6 at Averett University, a chance to learn how to fly for free.

"I just heard if you get in, it's a free ten hours in the plane and flying is not cheap, money flies a plane." said Tyler Nucklos, a future Averett student from Martinsville.

During the program, campers will start every day with a morning flight and spend the rest studying and practicing with simulators.

At the program's end, the teens will hopefully pass the test to do their first ever solo flight.