Influencing NextGen Aviation

Tarrant County College Northwest, in partnership with the University of North Texas, Denton, and the Federal Aviation Administration, will offer the Aviation Career Exploration (ACE) Camp June 11 to 15. The camp, which has been held for the past four years, aims to change the lives of incoming 11th graders through graduated seniors who are interested in the high-demand aviation and aerospace industry.

ACE Camp at CEATL campus.

The action-packed, hands-on, five-day camp is held at the Erma C. Johnson Hadley Northwest Center of Excellence for Aviation, Transportation and Logistics (CEATL), TCC’s 163,500-square-foot training site at Alliance Airport, the largest aviation education facility in Texas. The Center prepares students to become professional pilots, aircraft maintenance technicians and logistics professionals.

Camp participants fly drones, build model aircraft, ride full-motion flight simulators, visit an air traffic control tower and tour other aviation industry leader facilities while learning about physics, aerodynamics and meteorology. They learn using professional industry grade training equipment, including a fuselage mockup of a G-280 Gulfstream aircraft donated by Gulf Aerospace and aircraft parts given by Southwest Airlines, American Airlines and a host of other industry partners.

ACE Camp at CEATL campus.

Campers fly with an experienced instructor and even co-pilot a small plane thanks to a partnership with US Aviation. Although there is a real demand for core positions like pilots and maintenance technicians within the aviation industry, ACE camp students are exposed to other future opportunities in composite, aviation logistics, air traffic control, airport management, inspection and safety. The goal is to present campers with a wide range of career avenues in aviation during the week. The camp’s focus throughout the week is on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

The Hadley Center of Excellence has a year-round mission to prepare students to become professional pilots, aircraft maintenance technicians and logistics professionals. These include dual-credit students from Eaton, Dunbar and Keller high schools who are enrolled in Professional Pilot and Aviation Maintenance courses. CEATL also hosts a number of tours — more than 30 during 2017-2018 alone — to groups like the STEM Conference for Teen Girls, Boy Scouts of America and local schools. All these programs are part of its mission to create the next generation of aerospace professionals.