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Metro Technology Centers Hosts 16th Annual Aviation Career Education Academy

Metro Technology Centers Hosts 16th Annual Aviation Career Education Academy

Over 50 metro-area middle school students recently attended the annual Aviation Career Education (ACE) Academy to participate in a number of educational activities with airplanes, helicopters, drones, hot air balloons and more. Now for 16 years, The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Metro Tech have partnered to host the two-week and two-session day camp with the goal of exposing middle school students to the different career pathways of aviation.

On Tuesday, the future aviators kicked off the exciting week at AAR Oklahoma to learn about the maintenance, repair and overhaul of aircrafts, the aviation alphabet, Bernoulli’s Principle and forces of flight before traveling to the 137th Air National Guard Special Operations Wing.

Metro Tech’s Aviation Careers Campus welcomed the students on Wednesday with a hot air balloon demonstration and helicopter fly-in from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. After lunch, the students explored the many aspects of aircraft maintenance with Metro Tech Aviation adult students and instructors by learning the different aspects of riveting. The campers then got the opportunity to go on a “taxi” ride in the campus’ general aircrafts before learning how to fly drones, the different parts of an airplane and how weather affects flight.

“This camp gives students an expanded view of aviation,” Michael Branch, Aviation Career Campus Site Director said. “It shows them that some of the most important people in aviation are the ones who work behind the scenes like mechanics and those in the control towers.”

On Thursday, the students toured the Will Rogers World Airport (WRWA) and the WRWA Fire Department before visiting the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center (MMAC), the FAA Academy and the Systems Training Building Annex. There, the students were able to experience hands-on operations in the Airbus 330/340 and Boeing 737 flight simulators.

Friday, the students were at the MMAC again to visit the Transportation Safety Institute and the aircraft “boneyard” where they learned about post-accident investigation. After a visit to the Civil Aerospace Medical Institute, the students traveled back to AAR Oklahoma for a NASA presentation.

To end the week, the students were celebrated with awards and recognitions, as well as an opportunity to visit iFly, an indoor skydiving facility in Oklahoma City. Funding for ACE Camp 2023 was made possible through key sponsorships from AAR Oklahoma, True Sky Foundation, and Metro Technology Centers.

“It’s exciting to see young people getting involved in aviation,” Communications Program Specialist at the MMAC, Laura Shepherd-Madsen said. “As kids, they don’t know what they don’t know, so we try to teach them about all the different fields so they can know that they have a lot of options for a career in aviation.”

For more information about the FAA’s ACE Academy, visit:

One of the largest and most diverse technology centers in Oklahoma, Metro Tech has four campuses offering short-term, career and customized business training options. Campuses are located in South Oklahoma. City, Northeast Oklahoma City, Downtown Oklahoma City and the Will Rogers Airport.