Interterm Takes Flight
Private Pilot Ground School
Ten students from Bethany Christian Schools have completed ground school and logged their first air time in pursuit of a private pilot's license. The students participated in a weeklong private pilot ground school offered by chemistry-physics teacher Calvin Swartzendruber, who is also a certified ground school instructor.
The class was part of the school's annual Interterm in which students take a break from their regular studies and participate in one of 14 weeklong experiential learning courses. While these students were learning to fly, others were touring colonial history sites in Virginia, working on farms in Michiana, canoe camping along a Kentucky river, and exploring alternative forms of energy. See photos of other groups.
Junior Courtland Jones was excited when he learned that one of the interterm options this year was the private ground school. Courtland, who had already logged several hours of flight time through a private instructor, is hoping to obtain his private pilot's license before he graduates. To do this he will need an endorsement from an instructor such as Calvin, pass the Federal Aviation Administration written test, log 40 flight hours, and pass a flight test. Having now completed the intensive, and normally more expensive ground school, he is ready to seek endorsement to take the FAA test.
In addition to providing ground school training and flight time, Calvin designed the week to expose students to other aspects related to the joy of flying. The class visited both the Elkhart and South Bend airports where they had opportunity to visit the radar room and control tower. They learned about the mechanical aspect of taking care of airplanes and saw older model planes in the process of being restored in a behind-the-scenes tour at Air Zoo in Kalamazoo, Mich. They also learned about the hobby-side of flying from Bethany's technology director Peter Shetler, who flies a Light Sport Aircraft.
The students culminated their week with each logging a half-hour of flight time with flight instructors Roger Yoder and Nathan Steiner ('05) at the Goshen airport. Calvin says, "Whether or not students plan to continue pursuing their licenses, they have taken that first step and have some real, honest-to-goodness flight time in their logbook. Plus they have the satisfaction and enjoyment of having been at the controls in the left seat of an airplane."