6 Aviation Summer Programs For High School Students

Summer is a fun time for high schoolers – they get a break from academic commitments and can make time for exploration and growth. It is their time to experiment with what they like and would enjoy pursuing as a career. 

There are several summer programs that high schoolers are encouraged to undertake to determine the fields they like. This ranges from music technology, architecture, and culinary programs, to veterinary programs and zoology programs.

There is no dearth of summer programs and one such popular is in the field of aviation. These specialized programs offer young aviation enthusiasts a chance to experience the world of flight firsthand, nurturing their passion for aviation while providing valuable skills and knowledge. 

In this article, we will look at some exciting aviation summer programs for high school students, explore what they entail, how they benefit high schoolers, and how they can serve as a prominent and educative experience. 

What are aviation summer programs?

Aviation summer programs are immersive educational experiences created to introduce high school students to the world of aviation. These programs are typically organized by aviation schools, colleges, universities, or aviation-related organizations. There are various activities that students partake in and this allows them to gain real-world experience. 

Here are some components of aviation training programs: 

  1. Flight Training

Participants have the opportunity to learn about the controls of an aircraft under the guidance of certified flight instructors. Besides, they get a chance to take over the controls. This hands-on experience allows students to experience the thrill of flight and gain a better understanding of how the controls operate. 

  1. Ground Schooling 

Aviation provides students with a deep understanding of aerodynamics, navigation, meteorology, and regulations. Aviation summer programs have ground school sessions where the students are taught about these fundamental concepts through workshops and seminars. 

  1. Simulating Flight Conditions

Students are allowed to learn more about piloting and the skills required to handle emergencies. This is done by simulating flight conditions. 

Top aviation summer programs for high school students 

Aviation summer programs offer several benefits to high school students, making the investment worth it. Here are some top aviation programs:

1. Ace Academy

ACE Academy offers summer aviation educational programs tailored to the needs of elementary, middle, and high school children. They are particularly designed to appeal to students who are interested in aviation and aerospace. The program gives them a chance to dive into the intricacies of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) subjects and understand their importance in the aviation sector. 

Each year, the ACE academies welcome a diverse group of 1,500 to 2,000 students who participate in various activities such as:

  • Understanding aviation history and the physics that allows aircraft to fly
  • Diving into the intricacies of flight planning
  • Engaging in field trips to aviation-related sites
  • Getting more inside information about aircraft design and maintenance by exploring the world of aircraft engineering
  • Immersive flight simulations where students step into the pilot’s shoes

2. Aviation Summer Camp by Western Michigan University

Every year Western Michigan University runs an aviation summer camp for high schoolers who are interested in the field. 

This week-long camp teaches students the dynamics of flying a plane, the risk factors involved, and how to overcome any hurdles in their path. They provide hands-on experience and simulate flight conditions to allow students to get insight into the meticulous care that goes into flying planes. Here are some things students learn during this summer camp:

  • Flight planning lessons with experts
  • Field trips and site visits to discover the rich history of planes
  • Visiting aviation museums such as Kalamazoo’s Air Zoo
  • Engaging in hands-on activities such as flight maintenance, pre-flight inspections, etc. 

3. Aviation Program by Saint Louis University

Saint Louis University provides countless pre-college programs for STEM students. Among these programs is the Aviation Summer Academy, which is offered to students entering grades 11 and 12. It is a fantastic opportunity for students interested in the field to explore the diverse facets of the aviation field and decide whether it can be a potential career path. 

It is an immersive program spanning six days and five nights. The best part is that it also provides a residential camp experience for students. 

The academy has a dedicated faculty, certified flight instructors, and student mentors who will serve as guides. The participants are trained through hands-on activities that encompass a wide range of subjects. These include:

  • Flight science
  • Aviation management
  • Aerial navigation
  • Aircraft design
  • Air-traffic control
  • Aerial map reading
  • Latest advancements in avionics technology

One of the highlights of the program is that the participants get the chance to take flights in Saint Louis University airplanes, with the guidance of certified flight instructors. In addition to the engaging in-class modules, the academy provides a rich off-campus experience through field trips that allow students to explore various aspects of the aviation industry other than piloting.

4. Air Camp

Air Camp offers a comprehensive 4-day and 3-night educational camp for students eager to explore the realms of aviation, aeronautics, and the fascinating world of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). With jam-packed days from morning until evening, Air Camp promises an immersive adventure for high schoolers that brings together learning, exploration, and hands-on experiences.

Students are taught more about the fundamentals of aviation and aeronautics, they explore aviation sites, including the famous Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Furthermore, they meet with industry experts and scientists who give them valuable information about the field. 

Here are some activities offered by Air Camp: 

  • Teaching students about the physics of flight and aeronautical engineering
  • Providing hands-on flying experience under the guidance of a certified flight instructor
  • Investigating materials used in drone technology
  • Learning about drone manufacturing
  • Understanding medical procedures at higher elevations
  • Aeronautical chart interpretations
  • Exploring the inner workings of airports and aviation logistics

5. Aviation Camp by Auburn University

The Aviation Camp hosted by Auburn University invites students from grades 9 to 12 to learn more about the aviation industry. The goal of the program is to help nurture the next generation of aviation leaders on a large scale.

The program collaborates with distinguished aviation experts from various departments such as Auburn’s Aviation Center, Auburn University Regional Airport, the College of Liberal Arts Department of Aviation, etc. 

The week-long program offers hands-on experience and an array of activities such as field trips, workshops and sessions with guest speakers, simulator sessions, etc. The students do not require any prior knowledge for this coursework – you learn everything on the job. 

6. Youth Aviation Adventure Program

Founded in 1997 in Columbus, Ohio, this summer program is run by passionate individuals to teach young students more about the world of aviation. Under this program, students learn the following things:

  • Aerodynamics –  what is the science behind airplanes
  • How do airports operate
  • Various careers in aviation
  • Equipment used in aviation
  • Hands-on experience through flight simulator programs
  • Aviation navigation and reading charts
  • Inspecting pre-flight conditions
  • Learning more about the aircraft engine

Advantages of aviation summer programs

Summer programs are highly beneficial for high school students as it allows them to gain hands-on experience and prepare themselves for the world. Here are some advantages of taking up aviation courses:

  1. Opportunity to Explore

Aviation programs allow students to explore. Students who enter this program have a general interest in the world of aviation and get the chance to explore how things operate in real time. This greatly shapes their future career choices. 

  1. Hands-On Learning 

The opportunity to fly an aircraft is an unforgettable experience and is the best part of this program. Students get to bring theoretical concepts they learn in ground school to life. 

  1. Career Opportunities 

Aviation summer programs can serve as a stepping stone for those considering an aviation career. These camps allow students to explore various aviation-related fields – from flying airplanes to air traffic control, maintenance, and engineering, helping them identify their areas of interest and career goals.

Moreover, if you have these programs and certifications on your resume, it will be an impressive addition to your college applications in case this is a field that interests you. 

  1. Overall Development

Aviation programs demand discipline, critical thinking, and attention to detail. Besides, flying an airplane instills in students a sense of accomplishment and boosts their confidence. As such, people who participate in these programs become more sure of themselves and gain vital skills that can help in their overall development, especially as they leave high school and move toward college. 


Participating in an aviation summer program is a great opportunity, and provides invaluable skills. Before you enroll in a program, make sure to do proper research and familiarize yourself with basic aviation concepts.

Besides, do not be afraid to ask questions and seize the opportunity to learn from industry experts. There will be challenges that come your way but look at them as learning experiences. Lastly, don’t forget to document your experiences so you can revisit them later. The world of aviation can be exhilarating, so make the most of the opportunity!

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