Aviation students at the SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo in Lakeland, FL.

Questar III BOCES students took a class trip to Lakeland, FL to attend the SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo, an aviation convention that featured over 500 exhibitors, workshops, forums and more. Nine seniors from the Aviation program at Donald R. Kline Technical School in Hudson, NY attended the trip to learn about different aspects of aviation, network and meet potential future employers.

Two Aviation students pose inside the cockpit of a plane.

Through the convention, students met with US aviation college representatives, active airline captains, aviation organizations, aviation pilots, educators, and FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and ATC (Air Traffic Control) representatives. Many of these connections were made directly through their instructor, Radek Wyrzykowski, who were personal friends and acquaintances. This also showed the students that their instructor is another networking tool for them!

“I had an amazing time at SUN ‘n FUN,” said Griffin Huskin, a Donald R. Kline Technical School Aviation senior from Taconic Hills Central School District. “I got to meet many influential people, including Mike Goulian, a well-known aerobatic pilot. I got to talk to many people who gave me tips on how to go about my career options, around how long it should take, and the best way to do it. There was also a lot of different types of aircraft that we got to go in and learn more about.”

An Aviation student tries out an advanced simulator.

Getting into the cockpit of various airplanes is just one way students got hands on. They also used advanced flight simulators, and demoed various aviation products. They also learned about, and even joined, various aviation clubs!

“One of my best experiences was joining a club called the 99s,” said Hanna Schermerhorn, a Donald R. Kline Technical School Aviation senior from Ichabod Crane Central School District. This is an all-women’s group for aviation and allows me to be tied to women pilots all around the country. Being the only female student in my class, this is an excellent outlet for me!”

The Questar III BOCES Aviation program is one of the rarer Career and Technical Education programs available through NYS BOCES, and the only one in the Capital Region. Located at the Donald R. Kline Technical School in Hudson, NY, students of this two-year Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved flight program are prepared through both ground and flight knowledge to obtain an FAA Issued Private Pilot Certificate. Students participate in their ground school training at the Questar III facility in Hudson and receive their flight training at the nearby Columbia County airport in Ghent, NY. In addition to their classroom fly time, students are encouraged to fly outside of school hours and have access to unlimited flying time with their Richmor assigned flight instructor.

The SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo is one of the largest aviation events on earth. It brings over 200,000 visitors each year and is deemed “Aviation’s Spring Opener” or “Spring Break for Pilots”. The event also featured STEM and Career Fairs and world-famous daily and night airshows.

See a video from Mike Goulian at the SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo:

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