JAMAICA COLLEGE AVIATION
Since the summer of 2004, career choices for senior students at Jamaica College, have been greatly augmented with the introduction of an aviation programme in the school’s curriculum. This innovative programme is the brainchild of master aviator, David Robertson (Class of ’78), in partnership with The Flying Club. The programme was sanctioned and approved by the Aircraft Training Organisation (ATO) and the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) for a private pilot’s licence ground school. With national interest always on the fulcrum, the aviation program has been extended to select cohorts from the wider JC community as well.
Theoretical and practical
Technical Director of the Jamaica College Aviation Programme, David Robertson, explained that the curriculum includes both a theoretical and a practical package. “This involves, firstly, learning about all aspects of the airplane; how the airplane flies; the (various) theories of flight and how it is able to sustain flight,” he says. “The next module is about the engine, the airplane engine, and how the engine works, how we will be able to fix it, minor repairs. After (the) engine module, we go on to meteorology, aviation weather systems, (understanding) what is safe flying weather and marginal flying weather,” Mr. Robertson explains.
He adds that students will be introduced to navigation, where they will gain an appreciation for different methods of map reading and survival techniques. They will also be introduced to computerised systems, to learn more about the aircraft. “Then we move on to Jamaican Air law, which is the equivalent of a ‘Road Code’. It is an air code, following the various laws in the air from a Jamaican standpoint. After that, we learn about what is called weight and balance – how to lower the plane safely,” he states.
"There are many who want to become a pilot, but don’t know how to go about it, and finances will keep it out of reach. This [programme] will show that you can match dream and ambition..."
Mr. Robertson notes that the information students will receive in one year, compares favourably to that of private programmes. The private programme is sometimes compressed into three (or) two months, so the year is more than adequate time, especially for students who are hungry for the knowledge,” he explains. He further noted that the programme was designed, to give high school students an opportunity to take on new opportunities in emerging industries.
“We found the time was right to equip youngsters for the change in the economic climate (so that they can) be as marketable as possible. So, this programme does really cut the line between dream and ambition. There are many who want to become a pilot, but don’t know how to go about it, and finances will keep it out of reach. This will show that you can match dream and ambition,” he points out. “The programme is set in a way that; the minute you do get through this section you are on your way. You cannot get a private pilot licence without this theoretical package now; you are going to have to pass this exam,” Mr. Robertson adds.
Heavily subsidised by past students and stakeholders, the Jamaica College Aviation Programme is offered over one or two-year periods, after which, successful students may sit an external aviation examination administered by the JCAA. JCAA certification is accepted worldwide and is a prerequisite for obtaining a private pilot’s licence.
This first of its kind programme to be offered at any high school in the Caribbean, has added great value to the richness of the Jamaica College experience, while producing a cadre of aviators and explorers including recent graduate, Georgio Hado the youngest person to fly solo from USA to Jamaica.
Over the past 18 years, Jamaica College Aviation Programme has impacted the lives of our young Griffins to the pursue their aviation goals and to match dreams and ambition. From inception, the summer program has yielded over 20 pilots. The flight training aspect is expensive and despite aggressive and successful private fund-raising efforts many aspiring aviators are unable to fulfill their dreams. With your support, we can continue to help the current cadre of students soar to new heights, through the power of flight.
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Thank you so much for your support.