Aviation industry committees trying to determine how best to grow enthusiasm for aviation in young men and women should visit the Kishwaukee Education Consortium (KEC) Aviation Flight Program in DeKalb, IL. They may not be well known outside of Illinois, but the program has been recognized within the state for excellence. The eight-year old KEC program received the Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame Spirit of Flight Award in only its 4th year of existence.
What makes this program so successful? It’s apparent that Bruce Griffith is the key. When a passion for flying intersects with a degree in education and a desire to see young people achieve, success is inevitable. Bruce, as Program Director, has woven these interests and his enthusiasm, along with gifts and donations, into an elite program.
Program success can be seen in the devotion and achievement of the students. This is an elective program, where some students drive over an hour to arrive at the program’s classroom at 6:00 AM Saturday morning for their “flying” time slot. During vacations, they still show up Thursday nights to fly the basic and advanced aviation training devices (ATDs) to sharpen their instrument flying skills. Most importantly, many of these achievers continue with their flight training, going on to higher education programs at the Air Force Academy, University of North Dakota, and Embry-Riddle, to name a few. Many of the program graduates come back as college students to assist the high school students.
The KEC program is a two-year curriculum, earning students some high school and college credits. The students study aerodynamic theory and navigation the first year, and advanced learning, including human factors studies, in the second year. Students use the basic and advanced ATDs during both years. Although most of the ATDs have legacy-style instrumentation, they also enjoy ownership of an advanced ATD with Garmin G1000 primary and multifunction displays.
The qualities of the student’s flying skills are impressive. The personal qualities of the young men and women I met there—even more so. Thinking of them, the future of aviation and our country appears secure.
If you ever get to DeKalb, consider visiting this great aviation program.
ELITE is pleased to have Bruce Griffith and the KEC Aviation Flight Program as friends and customers, and applaud the success of the KEC program. Tell us about your program or flight school— others would enjoy hearing your story. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.