Students at Fordham Prep are taking to the skies with its flight simulators.
The school’s Aviation Club acquired and built the two simulators over an eight-year period, and have already readied two students to pursue further studies at aeronautical colleges, while scores of others are learning math and science principles, said club moderator and teacher Raymond Gonzalez.
The machines are like those used to train pilots in real life situations, said the instructor, who said it was an excellent way to teach Science, Engineering, Math and Technology.
The simulators, one with software designed by Lockheed Martin, teaches real life applications of algebra, geometry and physics, said Gonzalez, and more.
“As they learn the skills of engineering and flying, they are learning self efficacy,” said Gonzalez, a Throggs Neck resident pursuing a Doctorate Degree in Education.
Planning a pilot’s career is Anthony Lanni, a senior student living in Morris Park.
He said he’s loved aviation since he was a child, when he slept clutching a model airplane instead of a stuffed animal.
“I have had a passion for flying since I was a little boy,” said Lanni. “Just the curiosity and the wonder of how such a big machine can fly all these long distances and carry so many people…and get them there safely.”
In the fall, he will be attending Lynn University in Boca Raton, FL, a college that trains pilots.
Another recent graduate also has attended an aeronautical college, said Gonzalez.
Lanni hopes to land employmwnt at regional airlines and work his way up to major national and international carriers after college.
The club’s co-president, graduating senior Warren Bischoff, said he was excited about the many different job opportunities that are available in the aviation industry, not only for pilots, but also in business and marketing.
The airline industry is expected to experience a shortage of pilots in the next five to seven years as many pilots reach mandatory retirement age, boosting starting salaries and creating opportunity in the job market, said Gonzalez.
The aerospace sector is a ‘rich food chain’ for many types of future jobs, said the teacher, who just announced the school has added a senior elective class in Aeronautical Science.
Students first learn of the club when they receive a list of extracurricular activities at the start of their freshman year.
Bischoff said when he arrived at Fordham Prep he was excited to learn that there was an Aviation Club, which he has since expanded.
For younger students, the experience of learning to fly by a simulator is no less stimulating.
“It is not just flying planes, there is a lot of physics (and) geometry,” said Andres Gonzalez of Throggs Neck, a sophomore.
For example, he said, you can learn about physics through studying aerodynamics.
Sophomore Nicholas Emer, of Throggs Neck, said the simulators let students envision concepts they learn in STEM related classes.
Sophomore Montynal Collings of Bedford Park, said that he is always on the simulator when he has time, and he hopes to one day get his pilot license.