By Trevor Pettiford Pinellas County

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Sixth and seventh graders at Admiral Farragut Academy in St. Pete may not be old enough to learn how to drive yet, but they are, believe it or not, learning to fly.

It’s all happening thanks to a grant from American Airlines. The school is one of 17 in the U.S. giving grade school students opportunities for hands-on training on how to fly a plane.

lower school aviation admiral farragut academy

“They’re all doing a really great job”, said academy aviation director Robert Ewing, “and if they don’t become pilots, at least they get a chance to do something pretty cool.”

After some training in the classroom on a flight simulator, the first group of grade schoolers was transported to Albert Whitted Airport where, once in the air, Ewing would let each of them take over the controls.

“It was amazing!” said seventh-grader Sophia Raymer. “We could see the whole St. Pete and everything up there,”

Sixth-grader Hazel Alevoc agreed.

“At first I was nervous,” Alevoc said, “and I thought it was going to be like the simulator, but it was actually a lot easier than I thought.”

Admiral Farragut Academy expects to have more than 50 of their youngest students take advantage of the training over the next three weeks.


We have more exciting media coverage to announce! Tomorrow News Channel 8 Reporter Lila Gross and her crew will be on campus to film live from the Aviation classroom!  Lila will feature the new flight simulator, interviews with Aviation Director Rob Ewing and Upper and Lower School students.

Here’s the LIVE schedule for air times:

6-7 a.m.: Lila reports from the AFA Aviation Lab LIVE
7-9 a.m.: LIVE coverage shifts to WTTA (channel 6 or 1006 for most)
11 a.m. and 4 p.m.: Lila’s story is scheduled to air on News Channel 8
The link to the story will be posted later Wednesday on the News Channel 8 website. We will share that when we get it!