Teens get air time

first_img“OK, put your feet on the rudder pedals and look straight to the end of the runway,” volunteer instructor Ron Williams, a lifelong recreational pilot, told Brandon Miller as the teen manned the thick black controls of the shiny, red-paneled simulator. “Uh-oh, I think I’m gonna crash,” Brandon said, his small plane, a Cessna 172 – tough to steer for a first-timer – veering speedily toward a grassy area alongside the runway. “Right rudder! Right rudder!” Williams urged, directing his student to correct the plane’s direction with a few taps to the foot controls. Brandon straightened out just in time and was soon soaring high above the South Bay (the machines are programmed to fly out of Hawthorne Municipal Airport). “And, lift off,” Williams said. “Good job.” On a separate simulator a few feet away, Max Gafford, 15, experimented a little while, awaiting a Williams tutorial of his own. “Oh, that’s so James Bond,” Max exclaimed as he did a tight turn and then rolled his plane over, before proceeding to fly low over several buildings and even between trees. “Tight!” Williams arrived midflight and looked on over Max’s shoulder. Eventually circling around and starting to descend for a landing, Max missed the runway and came down in the distance. “Well, you almost made it,” Williams said with a laugh, clapping a hand against Max’s shoulder. “At least you found the airport.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Some local high schoolers got to fly themselves through the friendly skies one recent afternoon. The friendly faux skies, that is. About 20 students – all sophomores at El Segundo High – each took a turn on state-of-the-art flight simulators, courtesy of Los Angeles World Airports’ Flight Path Learning Center and its long-running Aviation Career Education, or ACE, program, which exposes kids to options in the industry. The center hosts the course four times yearly – twice for middle-school students and twice for high-school students. Last week it was members of an El Segundo AVID, or Advancement Via Individual Determination, class. Over the course of one week, the teens toured such places as the LAX bomb squad’s headquarters and an in-flight catering company’s kitchen, getting a behind-the-scenes look at an array of aviation industry jobs. On Thursday afternoon, though, it was all about air time. last_img

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