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With the help of the National Flight Academy, nearly 200 students may be one step closer to answering the question on every adult’s mind – “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

In partnership with Delta’s Community Affairs and Flight Operations departments, the National Flight Academy hosted students for a two week-long camp this August to teach them about aviation and inspire them to pursue challenging STEM-related course work - Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Employee children and students from Delta's community partners were eligible to apply by submitting an essay and selected students received a scholarship to attend. ​Delta community partners, including Junior Achievement, Conyers Aviation Middle School, West Michigan Aviation, 100 Black Men​ and Aviation Career Enrichment Academy, selected children to represent their respective organizations. 

The students, or as they call them "AMBITION Experimental Pilots" (AXPs), traveled from cities nationwide, including Anchorage, San Diego, Colorado Springs, and Brooklyn, to come to Pensacola, Fla., for the National Flight Academy's AMBITION, a state-of-the-art program housed onboard a 102,000 square foot virtual aircraft carrier.

At AMBITION, AXPs are able to plan missions with ultramodern and advanced technology as well as learn to fly in 30 networked aircraft, eat on mess decks, sleep in staterooms and receive mission briefings in six fully electronic ready rooms.  Additionally, they can experience different areas aboard the virtual carrier, including the Mess Deck, Join Intelligence Center, Joint Operations Center, Berthing Spaces, and Hangar Bay.

In the JIC, which is the core of all missions, students experience the latest cutting edge technology including SMART boards powered by Google Earth. Additionally, the students researched critical operational and scientific information and flew peart-task simulators and remotely piloted aircraft. The JOC is where all of the command, control and coordination of all missions occurred. In the JOC air traffic controllers regulated air traffic, provided clearances, received real-time information from airborne crews and assisted with navigation.

The missions all play a role in enhancing the students’ education, ultimately enriching their understanding of STEM principles. In addition, by working in a team-training environment, the National Flight Academy adventure is also designed to emphasize workforce skills such as leadership development, effective communication and critical thinking.

“Our generation is passing the mantle to your generation,” said Chick Winship of National Flight Academy, who provided words of inspiration to the students at the National Flight Academy graduation. “You have opportunities you just need to stay focused on what you want to do.”

The National Flight Academy, is an interactive, immersive learning adventure that focuses on inspiring youth to take a greater interest in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).Located on Naval Air Station Pensacola, the National Flight Academy is a program of the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation Inc., and is authorized, but not endorsed or funded, by the United States Navy and United States Government.

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