“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.
Gov. Bill Walker (right) and Lt. Gov Byron Mallott announced the don’t want to see Brett Kavanaugh confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court. (2016 photo by Skip Gray/360 North)Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov Byron Mallott on Thursday announced they oppose the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.Listen nowThey cited Kavanaugh’s record or presumed positions on health care, labor law and laws important to Alaska Natives.And, they noted in their written statement, “violence against women in Alaska is an epidemic.” They referred to the sexual assault allegation against Kavanaugh and said they couldn’t condone his confirmation while so many questions remain unanswered. (Kavanaugh vigorously disputes the allegation.)Governors, of course, have no direct say in confirming U.S. Supreme Court justices. But the announcement adds heft to the Kavanaugh opposition in Alaska, and Kavanaugh’s detractors hope it will influence Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a key Republican swing vote.Murkowski, and Sen. Dan Sullivan, separately spoke to Kavanaugh after the Alaska Federation of Natives raised concerns about him. Both senators say they’re convinced Kavanaugh does not intend to undermine the legal status of Alaska Natives or the laws and programs that help them.Walker, an independent, and Mallott, a Democrat, are running for re-election, but this announcement came from their state offices, not their campaign.Democratic challenger Mark Begich previously announced his opposition to Kavanaugh. Republican candidate Mike Dunleavy announced his support for Kavanaugh in July.The Association of Village Council Presidents is now among the Native groups opposing Kavanaugh’s confirmation. The group says its board sent a letter to Sen. Murkowski stating its solidarity with AFN.