November 30, 2021
Students Take to the Skies with New Flight Simulator at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute
Poly’s Empowerment Through Aviation Program prepares students for careers in aviation
The open runway. The flick of a lever. The roar of the engines. Takeoff!
The City Schools student is focused as the ground scrolls by, thousands of feet below her.
The experience feels real - from turbulence to lift and landing - yet the student isn’t in a cockpit. She’s sitting in a Baltimore Polytechnic Institute classroom in North Baltimore, using the school’s new, state-of-the-art flight simulator.
The simulator is a major part of Poly’s Air Force JROTC aerospace science curriculum and partnership with the Empowerment Through Aviation (ETA) program. ETA, one of City Schools’ Career & Technical Education programs, prepares female students for careers in aviation and other STEM fields by earning a pilot’s license while still in school. In the process, it diversifies the ranks of licensed pilots across the military and commercial aviation industries. The program is a part of City Schools’ continual expansion of career readiness experiences in fields ranging from aviation and surgery to nursing, construction, and EMT training. ETA plans to launch its 3-phase flying program this Spring at Commodore John Rodgers E/M School, Franklin Square E/M School, Roland Park E/M School, and Baltimore Polytechnic Institute.
The flight simulator at Poly features wrap-around visuals with 6 screens, realistic flight controls, glass panel technology, and a world-wide terrain database. It’s the only flight simulator in Baltimore City and is approved by the Federal Aviation Administration as an Advanced Aviation Training Device. According to Mike Jacobson, Director of the ETA program and a pilot of 24 years, “this is something any pilot would use, any pilot in training.” The ETA program was founded to honor the memory of Jacobson’s wife - a former Navy pilot, Bridgett Jacobson.
As Dr. Santelises put it at a ceremony in late October celebrating the simulator (video below), “We will have young people in Baltimore City schools graduating with their pilot's license, being able to log hours here without ever leaving their school until they need to get up in the air.”
Check out media coverage of the story on WMAR-TV. To learn more about City Schools’ career readiness programs, visit https://www.baltimorecityschools.org/ccr
Watch the video below of the flight simulator in action, featuring student interviews and insight from Dr. Santelises, at the simulator ribbon cutting ceremony: