DreamFlight Charities event inspired future aviators

Published 5:45 pm Wednesday, May 29, 2024


DreamFlight Charities hosted a discovery flight event on May 18 to encourage teens to pursue careers in the aviation industry.

At the event, students learned about the programs Dreamflight offers, got to experience flight simulators, and Discovery Flights. Students were taken on a short flight in a small aircraft, where they were given a chance to operate the plane.

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“It is not just a plane ride,” said DreamFlight Executive Director Drew Underwood. “They get a chance at the controls. It is an impromptu interview for us to see if they would be interested in our flight training scholarships. We are trying to gauge how comfortable they are in the plane, and how well they receive instruction.”

DreamFlight Charities picks three students ages 14 to 18 every year for a training scholarship. The scholarship will fund their training from zero flight hours to their first solo flight. Underwood explained that learning to fly can be an incredible confidence booster for teens.

“I have had students that I couldn’t hold a conversation with, and they were so shy,” Underwood said. “By the time they go through the training, the change in their demeanor and the way they interact with other people is amazing. Even if these students don’t pursue an aviation career, we are just giving them a different perspective on life and the realization they can overcome anything. That is what is really exciting about aviation to me.”

Additional services by DreamFlight are aviation camps for younger children and collaborative efforts to encourage students to seek careers in STEM fields.

Underwood explained that the aviation industry can bring many benefits to a rural community, even if it has only a small airport.

“Go to Lebanon and Springfield; everybody and their mom who is opening a distillery is flying into those airports,” Underwood said. “Danville, we have engineering groups with jets in our hangers.”

For more information about DreamFlight Charities and their mission, or to learn more about Discover Flights, go to dreamflightcharites.org