Some Vermont teenagers are flying high this summer at a camp designed to teach 12- to 17-year olds what they need to know become a professional pilots.

Running through simulations, learning about careers and even co-piloting aircraft are just some of the activities that young aviators are doing at Vermont Technical College’s AeroCamp.

“We’re aviating as far as, you know, flying the simulators in real scenarios that allow kids to see what it’s like in the airplane, and then to go ahead and try it,” said Robin Guillian, Director of Aviation at Vermont Technical College. 

Patrick Endres, a former camper is now a peer mentor with AeroCamp and shared the opportunities the camp can offer young aviators. “They all have the curiosity but there’s always one niche of aviation that each person loves the most,” said Endres.

By learning from licensed pilots, campers can get a head start on getting certified to fly a plane themselves. “It’s sort of a way to discover how you will be – how your journey will begin in aviation, and it’s also a way to gain hours towards getting your pilot’s license,” said Endres.

“A camp like Aerocamp is really important to the campers because it lets us discover our passion for aviation, and to get into flying because it’s kind of hard to get into flying, especially when we’re younger,” said Luke Tamm, a peer mentor at AeroCamp. Tamm’s aviation career was kickstarted by AeroCamp and he now flies planes in France and is working towards his private pilot’s license.

Some campers shared their favorite parts of being up in the air.

“Probably feeling so high up and knowing that you’re in control, flying that plane, really high up in the air, but it’s a good rush,” said Orion Cooper. “There’s more to flying than just flying the airplane. It has to do with weather, communications, safety factors, all that.” Cooper wants to be a private pilot to fly planes for fun.

Hardy Toof wants to be a cargo pilot for the Air Force. “My grandfather, who during the Vietnam war, worked on the B-52s, and I was really interested in that.”

The campers say that being able to hit the skies has been a great experience. Throughout the week, they had the chance to learn the ins and outs of aviation, go on multiple flights, co-pilot different types of aircraft and even fly over the lake to Plattsburgh.