There were plenty of teachable moments at Lynden Air Cargo this spring when a a high school aviation group from Chevak, Alaska, toured the facilities. Seven students and Chevak Aviation Instructor Ryan Walker learned about Lynden's operations and then toured the company's management offices, warehouse, flight operations, ramp and aircraft and maintenance building.
The group is similar to the "Build a Plane" group Lynden Air Cargo hosted last year from an Alaska rural high school.
Ryan began teaching elective aviation courses at the remote Chevak High School last fall, including an advanced class to prepare students for a private pilot written test.
"Flying is such a vital part of life out here and it's a real opportunity for these kids to make a living and help their communities in Western Alaska," he says.
The school is planning to buy a Rans S-6 kit plane students can build as part of the Build a Plane program. Ryan is also part of an effort to create a new nonprofit to put flight instructors in village schools across Alaska. AVSTEM International - short for aviation, technology, science, engineering and mathematics - will seek financial support from tribes, native corporations, school districts and other sources.
"Learning to fly improves math and science skills and gives students career choices in an industry that buzzes overhead daily," Ryan explains. Ethan Bradford, Lynden Air Cargo Manager of Technical Services, says it's always rewarding to host students. "We had a great time, and we hope it was a good experience for these young aviation cadets."