On May 5, a group of two teachers and 10 students, including myself, from Payson Center for Success High School (PCS) made a trip to Phoenix to visit the U.S. Airways Flight Simulation Center. The building is home to five flight simulators, used to train pilots, and flight attendant training facilities.
Four of the five simulators are corporately owned and one is privately owned by a man who lives right here in Payson, Dave Knott.
Dave knew that PCS is a school for high school students and that many classes available to students focus on career building and life after high school. He decided to allow the school to select a certain number of deserving students to fly the flight simulators, giving them the chance to think about a career in the airline industry. This may not seem like a big deal, but when it normally costs $4 per minute to use and every student and teacher was allowed a 10-minute training flight at no cost, it is a big deal.
When each group of three "trainees" entered the simulator Dave Knight, a pilot who also lives in Payson, was waiting to show us the basics of flying and make sure we did not crash. It normally costs an extra $100 an hour for an instructor, but, once again, it was free of charge.
Not only did Dave allow us to fly his simulator, he also coordinated a deal with Tim Patterson, the U.S. Airways Manager of In-flight training. Tim, along with Jonathan Bowles, taught everyone basic flight attendant training procedures and even allowed us to take a ride on the emergency exit slide they had set up. He also took us through all the training facilities, taught us the proper way to extinguish a fire, and gave us a chance to operate a real airplane door.
All the students were on their best behavior, which allowed for an optimal learning experience and, of course, a lot of fun. One student from the trip, Wesley, was surprised by how realistic the simulator was, and another student, Scott, said it "might be a good career to go for."
Cory Culligan, another student from the trip, said it "was a once in a lifetime experience," and that he was "so glad (he) was a part of it." Everyone was grateful to have the opportunity to do something most people never get to do.
"It was a great learning experience," said Justin Valencia, and everyone else agreed. The field trip helped many of these students with planning for the future and choosing a career.
Everyone at PCS is very appreciative and believes Dave Knott is an outstanding community member who really cares about students.