BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County School District's first aviation course will begin this year after nearly being canceled because of a lack of interest.
District officials say Aerospace Technologies I at Nature Coast Technical High School now has 12 students; it needed 10 to move forward.
By the original deadline last week, only eight students had applied for the course, which is open to freshmen and sophomores. The deadline was then moved back to Friday.
The course, which is a yearlong overview, has 25 available seats.
After the low initial enrollment, spokesman Eric Williams said district officials called a group of 65 students who had expressed interest in the program in a survey. High school principals also promoted the course during the first week of school.
The course is the initial offering in what the district hopes will become an academy for students interested in careers in aviation. The ultimate goal is to give students a foundation in the industry, bolstering the local workforce and helping to attract new industry.
Aviation experts have said the industry expects to see a big decline in the number of pilots, mechanics and other aviation workers in the next decade. Local officials think the Hernando schools could play an important role in training students.
Plans call for the aerospace technology track to eventually include four one-credit courses: Aerospace Technologies I through III and Advanced Technology Applications, which will be optional. Students are eligible to obtain Federal Aviation Administration ground school certification after completing the third course.
Students will not be flying on the district's time. To earn a private pilot's license, students would have to complete an additional 40 hours of instruction with a certified flight instructor.
Contact Danny Valentine at [email protected] or (352) 848-1432. Follow @HernandoTimes.