The Lone Oak Independent School District is working to get its professional aviation program off the ground.
At the district school board meeting earlier this week, LOISD Supt. Janeé Carter presented the first official public preview of the planned program, in which students will have the opportunity to build an airplane and, in the process, acquire technical/mechanical skills and obtain industry certifications.
With L3Harris having a plant in Greenville – and with American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Lockheed Martin and Boeing all having subsidiaries within a 50-mile radius of Hunt County – Lone Oak ISD hopes to use aviation and aerospace education to build a program that fits well with the manpower needs in the area.
“I’m super excited about this. … We want to introduce an aviation program that directly relates to the … needs of the workforce in this area,” Carter said. “It is to prepare our students to enter aircraft mechanics, become pilots, and learn all the different aspects of the field, but also connects to our workforce skills.”
The district’s aviation program was developed through Tango Flight, a non-profit organization that provides technical support, mentor training, and co-mentoring at 22 high schools across the country.
In collaboration with the aerospace corporation Airbus and the aerospace engineering department of Wichita State University, Tango Flight also developed the curriculum used in the program.
“When a school comes to us and wants to do a Tango Flight program now, we can offer them a turnkey solution,” said Tango Flight co-founder and executive director Dan Weyant in a promotional video.
The four-year program consists of two classes (Introduction to Aerospace and Aviation and Introduction to Aircraft Technology), as well as hands-on exercises in which students will build an FAA-certified Van’s RV-12iS aircraft over the course of two years. The program also includes an internship.
To deliver the program, which will begin with freshmen next year, Lone Oak ISD is seeking key partners to help fund it. For reference, when Georgetown ISD built its first plane through Tango Flight in 2017, it cost about $80,000.
Those interested in helping Lone Oak ISD with the program can contact Carter at 903-662-5427 or by email at [email protected]
“What I’m most excited about is that our children will be able to be a part of something the first time it’s offered…something that ties directly into what everyone is looking for in our children’s STEM education, or to send them to college” , Carter said. ‘It will open doors that have never been opened before.’