North Creek High School junior Austin Mitchell learns to fly using a $14,000 Redbird flight simulator in Northshore School District’s new Introduction to Aviation class. (Northshore School District)

North Creek High School junior Austin Mitchell learns to fly using a $14,000 Redbird flight simulator in Northshore School District’s new Introduction to Aviation class. (Northshore School District)

Northshore District students soar in new aviation class

Many in the class are contemplating careers as pilots, air traffic controllers or engineers.

BOTHELL — Students prepare for takeoff at 7:45 a.m. in Douglas Hakala’s Introduction to Aviation class at North Creek High School.

The new Career and Technical Education (CTE) course launched this fall in the Northshore School District. While it’s held at North Creek, any student in the district is invited to take the class.

Austin Mitchell, a junior, said he sprang at the opportunity to take the class when he first heard it was being offered. He said he comes from a long family history of aviation, to which he hopes to become another addition.

“My great-great uncle served in World War II and flew B-17 bombers,” Mitchell said. “My grandfather worked for Lockheed Martin, and my father currently works for Boeing. Through my life, I’ve had a history of aviation. Once I saw this class was available, I thought it would be the best thing to take it.”

Mitchell and his 29 other classmates are learning to fly using a $14,000 Redbird flight simulator.

The class immerses students into aviation through a variety of topics, such as aviation history to jet engines mechanics and aircraft aerodynamics basics. The class is designed to assist students explore other career choices after high school.

Hakala has been teaching in the Northshore School District for the last six years. He’s taught marketing, finance and robotics. He has two masters degrees — one in business, the other in engineering, specifically in aviation. He worked on the 767/757 project staff for Boeing.

When seeking for someone to teach the class, Director of CTE Damen Schuman said he was searching for someone to teach the class “in all the wrong places.”

“It was pure happenstance that we had the perfect person to teach this class right under our noses,” Schuman said.

Hakala said he enjoys teaching the aviation class at North Creek because he loves seeing students’ enthusiasm ignite.

“It’s so wonderful to see these kids, who a lot of them don’t really know what they want to do after high school, become interested in learning — especially something in the STEM field,” he said. “I have so many kids come up to me and say, ‘I didn’t know physics and math could be so interesting!’ It makes a difference when they can see it going into something that’s real and practical.”

Braxton Larson, a senior, said the class is really practical for students who are seeking alternative career routes to going to a four-year college.

“It’s really helpful if you want to pursue a practical STEM-related career,” he said. “I’m interested in going into the Air Force Academy and I’m really glad I’m taking this class.”

Several students in the class said they’re contemplating a career in aviation, whether it’s being a pilot, an air traffic controller or an engineer.

The students who complete this course will have the skills to pass the FAA’s written pilot’s exam.

Northshore School District is currently the only district that has this kind of program at the high school level.

This story originally appeared in the Bothell-Kenmore Reporter, a sibling paper of The Daily Herald.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Snohomish County Jail. (Sue Misao / Herald file)
As omicron surges, frustrations and challenges mount in correction facilities

More than 10% of those in state prisons are infected. “We’re kind of in this Twilight Zone cycle,” one prisoner said.

The Washington National Guard arrived Friday at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett to help with a surge of COVID-19 cases at the hospital. (Providence) 20220121
State offers free home tests; National Guard arrives in Everett

Supply is limited at a new online portal, but Washingtonians can now order five free rapid COVID tests.

vote
Ballots sent for special election on public schools’ funding

Levies to pay for staff, programs, computers and capital projects are on the Feb. 8 ballot across Snohomish County.

FILE - Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson talks to reporters, Monday, Aug. 26, 2019, during a news conference in Seattle. In a 5-4 decision Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022, the Washington Supreme Court upheld an $18 million campaign finance penalty against the Consumer Brands Association, formerly known as the Grocery Manufacturers Association. Ferguson sued the group in 2013, alleging that it spent $11 million to oppose a ballot initiative without registering as a political committee or disclosing the source of the money. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Washington justices uphold $18M fine in GMO-labeling case

Big grocers funneled dark money into a campaign against genetically modified labels on food packaging.

Closing this bedroom door during an apartment fire in Everett helped contain flames, smoke and carbon monoxide, firefighters say. (Everett Fire Department) 20220120
Crucial move during Everett fire: Closing the bedroom door

Two residents were rescued from a bedroom at the Riverdale Apartments. In all, three were injured.

Judge: Sex abuse of former Marysville student violated law

A woman sued the district last year, accusing a longtime art teacher of sexual abuse in the 1980s.

Police respond in downtown Everett after a man collapsed with a gunshot wound Nov. 27, 2021. He later died. (Caleb Hutton / Herald file)
Everett police continue to investigate November killing

Jerome Burnett, 48, died at the hospital. A suspect fled, according to police.

People across Snohomish County share their thoughts on two years of life during the pandemic. 20220123
Anxious, weary, hopeful: How we’re coping with COVID

The pandemic has taken a toll in Snohomish County, where the first U.S. case was confirmed. Here’s a time capsule of life in 2022.

Cassandra Lopez-Shaw
Snohomish County judge accused of ‘needlessly’ exposing staff to COVID

Adam Cornell argues the incident reinforces a need to suspend jury trials, as omicron wreaks havoc.

Most Read