The Marana Regional Airport played host to 21 students from Estes Elementary School who were participating in the Wright Flight Program on Friday, November 3. The Marana Unified School District students were not only getting to fly in airplanes, but actually take the controls.
Wright Flight is dedicated to “helping kids reach new heights” in both their classrooms and their personal lives. Wright Flight is a motivational program that teaches today’s youth how to set goals and achieve them. In this case, the goal is to pilot an airplane.
The Wright Flight program teaches that with hard-work, diligence, and focus no goal is out of reach — not even becoming a pilot. Students in the program must not only improve academically or behaviorally, but those who are already excelling can set a personal goal such as doing more community service. The students make a contract with their parents and teachers that has a tangible objective and steps to meet that objective.
In addition, students must make a pledge to remain drug and alcohol free and complete the Wright Flight curriculum, including passing a final test with an 85%. The students who few on Friday had all taken an aviation history class and also had safety training to fly the planes.
Only students who work hard enough to meet their goals and pass the course earn the right to fly. In Southern Arizona only about 75% of those participating in the program make it to the capstone event of Flyday.
The Marana Regional Airport has recently begun hosting Wright Flight events to help the organization handle all of the necessary flights. There are over 1,000 students enrolled in the program in Southern Arizona.
Volunteer pilots take the students up into the air and then turn the controls over to them once they are in the air. The pilots come from a variety of backgrounds including commercial aviation, current and former military, and general aviation enthusiasts. Some donate planes for the project, while Wright Flight also has some of their own.