Future Pilots Have New Opportunities In Oklahoma High Schools
While some students are working on earning their driver’s license, others are now eligible for another type of license.
The journey to becoming a pilot all began for Mustang High School junior Antonin Stoddard over a decade ago.
“When I was four years old -- for a birthday present -- my mom got me a cockpit visit in a Boeing 777, and the pilot gave me his hat and took a picture,” Stoddard said. “From then on, it inspired me. It sparked a little interest and passion.”
Stoddard found a place to grow his passion at Mustang High School.
“We heard about Mustang having an aviation program. Telling my dad, I was very interested in aviation, and we signed up for aviation, AOPA courses at Mustang,” Stoddard said. “From then on, it’s helped me.”
Stoddard is officially a private pilot after passing his ride check this week.
“A lot of people call it a certificate for learning, so that kind of just marks the beginning of a great career,” Stoddard said.
Mustang High School isn’t the only school providing the program. Currently, over 50 high schools in Oklahoma offer aviation training.
“We continue to push aerospace and defense industry work but now, with such a need for pilots, we could do training every single day and still need more pilots,” Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell said. “So it’s really good to see that increasing inside the state in our high schools.”
Pinnell said the state added 1,000 new aerospace jobs last year.