Hillcrest Announces Aeronautics Program for 2019-2020

Hillcrest Academy is joining approximately 100 schools in the nation implementing the nationally recognized Aircraft Owners and Pilots Associations (AOPA) high school aviation science, technology, engineering, and math curriculum in the 2019-2020 school year.

The program aims to provide students the skills they need to pursue aviation-related career and educational opportunities. The courses are available in two career and technical education (CTE) pathways: pilot, and unmanned aircraft systems (drones). 

According to a 2018 Boeing study, there’s a growing demand for qualified people to fill aviation industry jobs, and it’s not slowing down. Globally, 635,000 commercial aircraft pilots; 622,000 technicians; and 858,000 cabin crew members are needed within the next 20 years.

“With an unprecedented demand for careers in aviation, we are thrilled that so many high schools are utilizing our STEM curriculum to inspire students and give them the skills to pursue careers in aerospace,” said AOPA President and CEO Mark Baker. “Planting the seeds for the future workforce of our industry is part of AOPA’s mission to keep aviation vibrant. We are grateful to AOPA Foundation donors who make such programs possible. Their generosity is helping us make a difference in the lives of thousands of youth and to spur interest in aviation.”

Hillcrest adds the aeronautics program to an already strong engineering class lineup. Students who take pre-engineering report ease in coding and engineering courses in college, feeling prepared in Hillcrest’s Maker Space classroom. The Maker Space is the engineering classroom where students code and fabricate robot and electrical components in addition to building structures and machines with Hillcrest’s 3D printers. The Maker Space also houses Hillcrest’s environmental science course, that is building a park and laying out plans to plant an orchard and grasslands on Hillcrest’s campus to monitor and study wildlife. Hillcrest robotics program continues to win awards in partnership with Central Lakes Robotics. The aeronautics program will continue to build on the strong foundation of science, technology, engineering, and math courses that are propelling Hillcrest students to important callings for the sake of the Gospel. The engineering program is led by Armin Jahr.


  • Approximately than 100 schools will be using the ninth- and tenth-grade AOPA Aviation
    STEM Curriculum in the 2019-2020 school year

  • 80 schools utilized the ninth-grade AOPA Aviation STEM Curriculum in the 2018-
    2019 school year

  • 25 schools field-tested the 10th grade AOPA Aviation STEM Curriculum in the
    2018-2019 school year

  • 25 percent of students currently using the ninth-grade AOPA Aviation STEM
    Curriculum are female

  • 2.1 million pilots, technicians, and cabin crew will be needed by 2036 according
    to Boeing