Bismarck Public School Career Academy Trains Future Aviators


When high school rolls around many students start hitting the road. But what if your high schooler learned to fly?

That was the case for one Bismarck High School junior.

His dream  was to learn to fly.

“The first time you take off without someone else in the airplane you’re looking over constantly wondering, where’s my [certified flight instructor] ? But, it’s the coolest feeling in the world,” Nevin Fetzer, Bismarck High School junior says.

Fetzer logged the required 40 hours flying in order to qualify for a private pilot’s license.

And after finishing his first solo flight, he was hooked.

“There was no going back after that,” Fetzer says.

He, along with 72 other high school students at the Bismarck Public Schools Career Academy, are part of their aviation program.

The program teaches students everything from basic aviation principals to more advanced aerodynamics.

With the need for aviators expected to grow, aviation instructor Brad Stangeland says now is a great time to choose aviation as a career.

“You graduate — you get your time in — you’re going to have a good chance of getting a good job,” Stangeland says.

He’s giving his students the knowledge needed to get started: working with drones, using high tech flight simulators, and even building their own plane.

“It’s a slow process. We want to make sure everything is correct and put together in the correct manner especially since I’m going to be the one flying it the first time,” Stangeland says.

Because Stangeland says the washout rate for aviation on the college level is high but he hopes the preparation they receive through his class will help them succeed.

“That way they’re not overwhelmed when they get to that point, it’s more of a review,” Stangeland says.

And fuels a passion to fly.

“Who else gets to have an office at 30,000 ft and get paid for it? ” Fetzer says.

Fetzer wanted to encourage more kids to take up flying so he and his teacher founded the Career Academy Flying Club which meets monthly and teaches members about aviation careers. 

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