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News: Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

First Aviation Program Class Graduates

It’s lift-off for a dozen students who make up the inaugural Abbotsford School District Aviation Program graduating class. The students, their parents and teachers participated in the program’s first awards celebration recently at the Baron Restaurant at Abbotsford Airport. Following that, students gave their parents a tour of the hangar, dispatch centre and then a flying lesson in the simulators. 

The Aviation program is part of the district’s Career Programs. Students can apply for the program from any of the district’s secondary schools. Eight of this year’s 12 graduating students have applied to the University of the Fraser Valley’s Bachelor of Business Administration in Aviation Degree Program.

“We are very excited to see this evolution of our Aviation course” notes Abbotsford Board of Education Chair Rhonda Pauls. “This is an example of the kind of innovative programming we work to develop for our students. Our strategic direction challenges us to offer engaging opportunities for our students where they can learn in different environments. This course offers our students exposure to a variety of career paths and opportunities in the Aviation field that they may not have had otherwise.”

During their year, students in the AV 100 program met the Transport Canada ground instruction requirements towards their Private Pilot license. Aside from their ground school training they were introduced to many facets of the aviation industry through tours and hands-on experience, including:

  • Planning a cross country trip then ‘flying’ the actual route using a flight simulator at Coastal Pacific Aviation; 
  • Seeing the inside workings of an aircraft engine at COPAC’s Aircraft Maintenance facility; 
  • Learning about Air Traffic Control through a visit to the Abbotsford International Control Tower provided by Nav Canada; 
  • Operating equipment that is used to repair damaged aircraft skin at the University of the Fraser Valley’s Aircraft Structures Technician training facility; 
  • Exploring the world of rotary aircraft and helicopter training during a tour of Chinook Helicopters; 
  • Visiting Conair to learn about the world of aerial firefighting; 
  • Receiving a behind-the-scenes tour of Abbotsford International Airport Operations.

“We now have the Aerospace community on board to offer work experience opportunities for our students,” explains Patti Tebbutt, District Principal of Career Programs. “Starting in September, our Aviation students will gain 120 hours of work experience in addition to the ground school course offered by Coastal Pacific. So far, our industry sponsors include: Cascade Aerospace, Conair Aerial Firefighting, WestJet, Chinook Helicopters, Coastal Pacific Aviation, Marshall Aerospace, Abbotsford International Airshow and Abbotsford International Airport Operations. We are most appreciative of the industry’s support of our program and students.”

Patti Tebbutt,
District Principal, Career Programs,
Abbotsford School District
604.504.4618, ext.1853
Dave Stephen
Manager, Communications,
Abbotsford School District
604.859.4891, ext. 1206;