Metro Atlanta aerospace camp inspiring new generation of pilots

The newest generation of pilots is being trained right now in metro Atlanta, and some of them are as young as 9 years old. 

Some of these young pilots with College Park nonprofit Aerospace Awareness have already taken to the skies.

"Well, the first time I did it, it was kind of hard. But then I got the hang of it because I kept doing it, so it's pretty easy now," 11-year-old Faith Washington said.

Washington is a 2nd Lieutenant in Aerospace Awareness.

"It's designed to teach them professionalism, motivate them, to build confidence, and once they build that confidence, we actually get into the simulators and the airspace stuff," Thomas Abair told Good Day's Lindsay Tuman. Abair started the program in 2021.

"I got my pilot license when I retired from the Air Force and did some flying. I just really enjoyed the flying, but I wanted to do something else to pass along that knowledge while also helping the community as well," he said.

The camp teaches about airplanes, space, and other career fields associated with aerospace. He's had about 200 kids come through Aerospace Awareness, including Washington.

She might not be able to get her driver's license, but she's mastered flying the simulators and has even piloted an actual plane.

"It was fun, pretty easy. I learned a few new things. I like the pilot that I was flying with," Washington said.

"Once I saw Faith flying, I knew my program was successful at that point. She started at 9, she's worked so hard, not just on the simulator but developing as a leader," Abair said.

He said that's what it's all about, watching these kids develop not just into pilots, but leaders.

"I wasn't afforded the opportunity, but now they have a place where they can come and fly, get their pilot license at 16, and start working on their career," he said.

That's exactly what Washington is doing when she puts in the hours in the cockpit.

"I want to be a pilot for Delta and continue to fly as I get older," the fifth-grade student said.

Teaching these kids to reach for the sky, and giving them the tools they need to land their dreams.

Aerospace Awareness has a summer camp open this summer. If you want to learn more about registering, or if you want to help their cause and get more youth involved, you can visit their website.