By Alyssa Frierson and Shereen Siewert

Students in Wausau will continue to offer students the opportunity to learn to fly, helping prepare students for careers in aviation.

The Wausau School Board discussed the ongoing program during their regular meeting earlier this week as part of their “Spotlight on Education” agenda item.

The online course, Aviation 101, prepares students to receive their pilot’s silence through a joint effort between the Wausau School District, Wausau Area Virtual Education (WAVE), and Wausau Flying Service. While the course is online, students must be within driving distance of the Wausau Downtown Airport for the flight simulation portion of the course.

School district officials say the program differentiates Wausau schools from other districts.

Aviation 101, which launched last year as a pilot program, is a 0.5 credit elective being supported through the generous donation of flight instructor and simulator time from the Southeast Side Neighborhood group, Learn Build Fly, and Wausau area pilots: Wynn Jones, Keith Mathews, and R.W. Monk.

Students selected to participate in this course have classroom instruction featuring the Aeroscholars curriculum. Additionally, these students complete loggable simulator hours at the Wausau Airport with FAA certified flight instructors using an FAA approved flight simulator.

Dual credit will be granted by Fox Valley Technical College for students continuing their Aviation studies through that program.

At the close of the course, students can continue on to take their private pilot’s test.

The course program may eventually expand to include content geared toward airplane mechanics, as the demand for pilots pales in comparison to the need for airplane mechanics.

According to Forbes, the aviation industry will need 790,000 new pilots by 2037 to meet demand.

Interested students may visit the Aviation page on the WAVE website for more information.