Purdue helps pilot aviation-based high school curriculum

Purdue approves to change the Aviation Department into a school (WLFI)
Purdue approves to change the Aviation Department into a school (WLFI)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — An aviation-related curriculum may be making its way into high school classrooms in the near future.

Purdue and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association are teaming up to create a program like no other – curriculum based on all things aviation.

After writing a proposal, Purdue was selected by the AOPA to assist with program development.

Julius Keller is a post doctoral researcher at Purdue helping with the process.

“An aviation curriculum in high school can potentially inspire [and] motivate individuals to learn, grow and participate as next-generation aviation professionals,” Keller said.

Purdue will receive an initial grant of about $175,000. The University hopes to receive more funding down the road.

The program will offer a four-year aviation-based curriculum, coinciding with math and science requirements.

Associate professor Bernard Wulle said he and others in Purdue’s School of Aviation and Transportation Technology are excited to help start the program.

“We’re taking kind of the lead,” Wulle said. “We’re going to be kind of the … collective point of getting this information, creating this curriculum, and then disseminating so any high school anywhere in the country – if they want to – can adapt and make it part of their curriculum.”

Keller said he’s had a passion for aviation his entire life and is excited to help through the program’s startup.

“This program potentially can have a great impact,” Keller said. “[It could help] people who are interested in aviation for the long term or even just to be able to motivate themselves to do well in high school.”

Wulle said he knows of just a handful of schools that have tied aviation into their curriculum, but he hopes to see the program grow.

“To have Purdue again take the lead in something that can be used nationally is really just very satisfying,” said Wulle.

A high school aviation seminar will be held in Seattle next month.

High schools that already have an aviation program or are looking to establish one are invited to come.