A group of students from Preston’s College were reaching for the skies when they swapped the classroom for the cockpit.
They travelled to Blackpool Airport, base for the BAE (Warton) Flying Club where the Level 3 and Level 4 HND (Higher National Diploma) Aeronautical Engineering students each received a 30 minute flying experience in the cockpit of a Piper Warrior alongside flying instructors Bob Stinger and Mike Cockrill.
The student, aged between 16 and 27, also completed training in taxiing the one tonne, four-seater aircraft, as well as managing the in-flight control manuals.
The unusual lesson gave the scholars a chance to showcase and enhance their aeronautical engineering skills already gained from working on a six-seater twin-engine aircraft inside the college’s £13m iSTEM Centre.
Course studies involve working on an aeroplane that replicates a real working environment to enable students to obtain the knowledge, experience and qualifications required for a career in the aviation industry.
One of the students, Usmaan Akram, 16, from Chorley, said: “I’ve never done anything like this before and it was amazing.
“We took off from Blackpool Airport, did a couple of manoeuvres in the air before touching down at BAE in Warton, then flying back again.
“This course is so much like reality as we get to work on real planes and I would say to anyone looking for this type of job to come to Preston’s College.”
Mohammed Hoq, programme team leader for engineering and aeronautical at Preston’s College, added: “Each of our learners handled their flight impeccably and with the utmost professionalism. The day was a rewarding and invaluable experience and the students thoroughly enjoyed taking part.
“We have so many bright young people studying at Preston’s College and it’s our job to connect with them by providing a range of interesting opportunities that develop their skills and knowledge, as well as helping them realise the wide range of careers available within the industry.
“There’s a critical shortage of students with a broad range of engineering skills, which employers, particularly those in aviation, so desperately need.
That’s exactly why developing well-rounded learners that can hit the ground running is our number one priority.”
BAE (Warton) Flying Club was formed in 1954 to encourage an interest in aviation among employees of the British Aircraft Corporation (later to become BAE Systems) and to provide them with safe, affordable flying including instruction for the Private Pilot’s Licence’.
The club operates out of Blackpool Airport and has a membership of around 60 qualified pilots and 24 students.