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Dynamic Aviation NEXTGEN Program at Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport

Dynamic Aviation NEXTGEN Aviators program traveled to the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport this week to educate students on the many careers available in aviation.

More than 100 Salem City middle school students had the opportunity for a unique hands-on learning experience in everything that engineering and aerospace have to offer. Several stations set up at the airport featured a new challenge or experience those in the field could see every day.

“It gives all the students exposure to aviation,” Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport Director of Marketing & Air Service Development Bradley Boettcher said. “90 percent of the kids that participated had never been in an airplane before. For these kids to learn about laying a rivet, flying an airplane or working on a jet engine and then getting to take a ride around the valley on a turbo prop aircraft was fantastic.”

The different activities with the NEXTGEN Aviators program are a great way to present information on a variety of aviation careers. Aviation is expected to have a deficit of over 3/4 of a million jobs over the next 20 years. So, now is the time to inspire future generations of aviation professionals.

“What we try and do is showcase to kids that working in aviation is not just being a pilot or flight crew member,” Boettcher said. “There are the mechanics that keep the equipment running, the air traffic controllers and our operations officers whose job is to make sure everybody is safe. There are also the different aspects of running a facility that include the public safety aspect, the finance and administration. If you love aviation that doesn’t mean you have to spend your life flying an airplane. There are other things that you can do.”

The NEXTGEN Aviators event in Roanoke was the first opportunity for Dynamic Aviation, located in Bridgewater, Virginia, to reach an audience outside of the Shenandoah Valley. The program is set to be in Blacksburg the first week of December and back in Roanoke the week after.

The NEXTGEN Aviators program is sponsored by the Virginia Small Aircraft Transportation Systems Lab. Inc. (VSATS). The event was held in partnership with Signature Flight Support, Star Flight Training and Piedmont Airlines.