Delta Air Lines and the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP) hosted 40 middle and high school students at Delta’s headquarters in Atlanta for its annual Aviation Career Education (ACE) Academy. ACE provides students with a unique, behind-the-scenes opportunity to experience the operations in the aviation field.
The focus of the program is to teach students aviation history, aerodynamics, meteorology, navigation and flight simulator orientation with qualified flight instructors. Select graduates from ACE Academy are invited back the following year to participate in Flight Line, an in-depth program that focuses specifically on pilot training, including allowing students to perform solo flights during their two week-long training.
As part of the two programs, all camp students as well as students from aviation programs across the U.S. will be transported on the Delta’s annual Dream Flight, a daylong field trip where students will visit Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fla.
“It’s not about what we get out of it; it’s what we’re giving back,” said Dream Flight Captain and Delta pilot Calvin Allen about the program. Allen has worked with OBAP’s Aviation Career Education camp since 1982 and is director of an ACE Academy located in San Antonio. “Through ACE, we have the opportunity to expose these kids to something they’ve never experienced before and help them explore the world of aviation.”
ACE also encourages the students to be more involved in math and science, Allen said.
Since its beginnings in 1992, the ACE Academy has grown to 26 locations, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Island, and has engaged more than 30,000 youth to date. Delta has partnered with the program for 17 years.