Nathan Fife, 9, looks out the window of an airplane during a Central Texas College Come Fly With Me class for students age 9 to 11 Friday at Skylark Field in Killeen.
 
Troy Dobecka, 11, takes a fuel sample from the wing of a Cessna 152 with the assistance of Central Texas Flight Team member Mason Ross during a CTC Come Fly With Me class Friday at Skylark Field in Killeen.
Central Texas College Come Fly With Me class Friday at Skylark Field in Killeen. Students in the College for Kids program spent the week learning about aviation.

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By Andy Ross
Killeen Daily Herald

The group of youngsters who enrolled in the Come Fly With Me class at Skylark Field this past week were able to wrap up their learning experience on Friday high above the skies of Killeen.

The class, offered through the College for Kids program run by Central Texas College, has been taught each summer for several years and typically ends with instructors taking the students for brief flights in Cessna 152s.

Just prior to boarding, Cody Reinhard said he took the course last year and made sure his parents signed him up again this summer.

“I took it the first time just to see what it was like, and I really wanted to do it again,” Reinhard said. “You get to see cool places from the air like Stillhouse (Hollow) Lake. I’m real excited about going up.”

Although the flights are the highlight of the week, the classroom instruction, overviews of engine parts and a chance to participate in flight simulation training are popular draws.

“It’s surprising that they really do like getting into the physics of everything and the details,” said Michael Hutyra, assistant chief flight instructor at Skylark.

The Come Fly With Me class is only one example of CTC’s tradition as a center for aviation training. In addition to offering associate’s degrees in the aviation field, CTC fields teams that compete in the National Intercollegiate Flying Association’s Safety and Flight Conference.

David Peters, an instructor, placed high at the recent SAFECON event in Ohio. He is now preparing to pursue a bachelor’s degree in professional pilot aviation science at Texas A&M University-Central Texas.

Working with youth, Peters said, offers him a welcome chance to share his passion for flying with a potential crop of future pilots.

“They’ve been sitting in the classroom all week and are chomping at the bit to get out here and see what they’ve been learning about up close,” he said.

A second Come Fly With Me class for 12- to 16-year-olds begins Monday.

CTC’s College for Kids also offers Crime Scene Investigation, Chemistry Lab Rats, It’s Cookie Time, We Do Robotics among others. For more information about the classes, call CTC at (254) 526-1224.