Ground School takes flight at West Boca


Dylan Gaynor, Reporter

As students received their course selection sheets last year, one option, a Private Pilot Ground course, stood out as something brand new. This aviation-based course is a brand new class that West Boca, and most other high schools in the area, have never seen before. For years, the idea of an aviation-based class has floated around as a possible upgrade to West Boca’s elective offerings. These ambitious ideas were nothing but a concept, until now.

What even is Ground school? For those who want to become a pilot someday, Ground school is a necessary requirement that all aviators must go through at some point. Before getting into an airplane, you must learn how to navigate around the area, communicate with other airplanes, and know about all the different systems contained within an airplane. This is a long process, which is conventionally dreaded by most future pilots.

For example, if you had to sit through a 30 hour course to get your driver’s license then Florida drivers could learn how to drive, or would know what a speed limit is.

Most people don’t want to sit through an online Ground school, but it’s something that you have to do to become a pilot. Similarly, most people don’t enjoy sitting through classes each day at school, so why not get both over with at the same time, while keeping it fun? That’s where our brand new ground school course comes in.

West Boca’s ground school class provides students with cutting edge technology to learn key concepts that all pilots need to know. Foreflight, for example, is a state-of-the-art app that allows aviators to navigate completely from an Ipad or Iphone. This program is quite expensive, which makes it difficult to get your hands on, but West Boca’s course offers Foreflight to all enrolled Ground school students. This shouldn’t be taken for granted, as just the ground portion of flight training could cost upwards of 400 dollars, not including a 300 dollar Foreflight subscription. This money saved is more money in the pockets of students that they could put towards more advanced flight training in the future.

There are challenges, though. Bringing in a completely new class comes with a variety of hurdles. Most classes follow an established curriculum that has been refined over many years, but a curriculum doesn’t exist for a completely new class. So, who would be willing to take on the challenge of a brand new aviation course? That’s where Mrs. Hutchings, a brand new teacher at West Boca, comes in.

Mrs. Hutchings, A South Florida native, brings a wealth of teaching experience, including 10 years as an Algebra teacher. Her Aviation expertise should not be ignored, as she is a private pilot, a ground school instructor, and has been involved in all aspects of aviation, including airlines, collegiate programs, and airport management.

To sum it up, she knows what she’s talking about, and this year she aims to pass that knowledge down to her students in her ground school class. “I’m just so excited!” Mrs. Hutchings exclaimed in an interview with The Bullseye. So are we Mrs. Hutchings, so are we.