Kickapoo High Quarterly


Kickapoo High Quarterly


Kickapoo High Quarterly


FlySPS Day in the Life

Being able to fly a plane at seventeen is impossible, unless it isn’t. Ozark Technical Community College’s FlySPS program makes this farfetched idea a very real possibility.
Photo by Morgan Brownson
Junior Carter Meints from Central High School has just finished his first observational flight accompanying another pilot and co-pilot.

   FlySPS is a new Springfield Public Schools (SPS) program established in August of 2023, and is designed to offer an exclusive opportunity for ten students each year to learn about aviation. They can earn their pilot license, all while earning both high school and college credits. 

   This two year program focuses on typical education of aviation information, as well as more tactile teaching including simulation experience, and even flight hours. 

   After the program is finished, students will have successfully earned their bachelors in aviation, and can pursue any number of flight based careers. 

   Each day at Ozark Technical Community College’s (OTC) FlySPS program is different, and some are more exciting than others. Some days are spent doing things as simple as learning about the weather and other factors that could affect air travel, while others are spent in the air learning how to actually pilot a plane. 

FlySPS students observing flight routes in Missouri on a physical map with their instructor. (Photo by Morgan Brownson)

   Glendale Junior Kathryn Renkoski helps shed some light on what a typical day at FlySPS looks like.

   “Well my day starts pretty normal. I’ll get here and sit and talk for a little bit, and then class will start. Most of the time we learn about stuff like the weather. The wind has a huge effect on how you can fly a plane so we’ve been learning about that. Sometimes we learn about air regulations too,”

   Weather and air regulations, while important, are not the only things that these students have to know about before being able to fly a plane.. They also have to know about how planes actually operate.

   Starting fairly recently, the students began participating in observational flights. Each student has an elected day of the week that they participate in this observational flight, in which they sit in the back of a plane while the pilot and co-pilot fly wherever they need to that day. The students are allowed to ask questions at this time to learn more about their aircrafts, as well as other general operation information. 

   “Right after class starts, whoever is scheduled for a flight will go and get their headset and then go out,” Renkoski adds.

   These observational flights are just one more step taken to help prepare these students for their big end of the year assessment, at which time they will pilot a plane by themselves with their instructor sitting in. FlySPS Director Kyle McKee explains that the students have to have a crucial understanding of aviation, and all of the key components that go into it before they are allowed to actually pilot the planes.

   “The students don’t actually do any flying their first year, except for their big flight test. They apply what they’ve learned this year and in April, I sit up with them as they fly the planes,” McKee states.

   These students are the first to experience all that this program has to offer, and the results of their hard work are already being seen. They are all undeniably grateful for the opportunity to participate in the program partially because of how fascinating it is to learn how to pilot, but also because of the program’s exclusivity.

   FlySPS selected two students from each of the five Springfield Public Schools high schools.

   The application process was relatively simple. Students were required to submit an initial interest essay. After they had all been read through, the selected students were called back for physical interviews and they were asked clarifying questions about why they were interested in FlySPS. Some time later, the selected students received acceptance letters in the mail. 

   FlySPS is an innovative educational program full of expansive learning opportunities and a new take on teaching a previously unavailable path for high schoolers interested in aviation. All it takes is interest, willingness, and a passion for flight.

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About the Contributor
Morgan Brownson, Reporter