Angels In Our Midst

Angels In Our Midst

text size

Angels in our Midst (Chappie James Flight Academy)

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 01:43 PM CDT
PENSACOLA - It's not unheard of for a teacher to remind a child to get their head out of the clouds.

But, that's exactly where one group of instructors wants their students' minds to be.

They want them to dream the dream of Angels in our Midst.

Cliff Curtis; Chappie James Academy Founder; Growing up in Pensacola, I had a passion for aviation and I've been very blessed in my life to be able to live out my dream.

Mike Fowlkes, Chappie James Academy Founder; We were just coming out of flight school as instructors and we wanted to share the experiences that we had.

With just their dream, a group of military pilots started the General Daniel "Chappie" James Flight Academy; a free, one-week program introducing youth to the world of flight.

It's an intense week of classroom work and field trips …

Zuri Turner, It's been a lot more than I thought it would be.

It teaches you a lot of life's lessons.

Not to ever quit anything that we want to do.

Anthony; Integrity, yeah.

Anthony; One of the team leaders, he said that when he was in the Air Force, he made a mistake and he had to stand in front of the whole class and tell them the mistake he made.

Joseph and Army Air Traffic Controller

Joseph with students at plane

In the 14 years of the program, these pilots, who now fly commercially, have made their mark. Some of the their former students come back, to give back. Jeremy Lee is now an Army Air Traffic Controller. Joseph Young was eight when he went to the academy.

Joseph Young; I hold my private pilot's license with an instrument rating. Which means I can fly bad weather, clouds, shoot approaches. I have my multi-engine rating, my commercial rating... I'm working on my certified flight instructor license right now.

Joseph; I go to Auburn University and I'm in the flight program up there majoring in professional flight management.

Austin Phillips, Future Aerospace Engineer; I want to be an Aerospace Engineer after high school and go to school at Embry Riddle.

I think it's an amazing thing they did. I'm very happy they did or else I wouldn't be here today.

Miles and Joseph walking to plane.

Miles putting on headset.

The class work and life lessons have paid off. It's graduation day; "Fly Day". That's right, these students are about to earn their wings.

It's going to be fun. Being up there, no limits.

Fred Gant's son walking to plane, getting in

Joseph and two Embry Riddle students will take them up and actually have them take the controls.

Keya Andrews; It was good. It was nervous at first. It was very, very nervous at first. My stomach dropped at first.

Jasmine Andrews; I haven't ever flown in an airplane anywhere. And for me just to even fly an airplane; that was something for me.

Mike; That's the bottom line that we want to give them; the hope that they can do anything they put their mind to. We were told that we couldn't do certain things. We were told that we couldn't be pilots.

Miles getting out of plane

Miles Wright; It was scary at first. It was nerve wrecking and then towards the end it got real fun.

Miles taking off

Miles in flight...Circling

Miles; I was able to take off and I was able to roll. That's pretty much where you do a turn, left or right.

And I went over the water. It was amazing.

Cliff; Confidence;

If they can master and learn all week about how and why airplanes fly and then experience that on graduation day ... the sky is the limit at that point. They can do anything they want to do regardless of the career that they choose.

Angels in our Midst is brought to you by Sacred Heart Children's Hospital.

Angels in our Midst (Chappie James Flight Academy)

Advertise with us!

Related Stories

Advertise with us!

Angels In Our Midst Entry Form

Please re-enter the code shown in the image below.

Washington Times