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Salisbury East High School take off on exclusive excursions to Parafield Airport as part of the STEM Wings initiative.
The access-all-areas trips allow students to learn about potential future pathways in the industry.
Chris Griffiths, manager of Parafield Airport, personally escorts groups on the once-in-a-lifetime tours of South Australia's premier general aviation airport and provides them with a series of exhilarating experiences.
First used in 1927 and later becoming the only civil airport for Adelaide until Adelaide Airport opened in 1955, students are given an intriguing presentation about the history of the facility while seated around the boardroom table.
They learn that the largest, world-standard international pilot training facility in the Southern Hemisphere has more than 2000 employees, which includes the shopping precinct on Main North Road, and it processes in excess of seven million passengers annually.
After Sydney, it is also the second busiest airport in the whole of Australia for take-offs and landings and is a major source of income for the South Australian economy.
The students see at first hand some classic fighter jets and are even allowed onto the viewing balcony of the art deco control tower - once the airport’s main passenger terminal - where they track numerous aeroplanes taking off and landing during a series of training circuits.
Another highlight is a visit to the Flinders University Airborne Research hanger. Helmut Thompson provides the group with a series of hilarious anecdotes about his fascinating job and shows the group one of the $1 million planes that is used for environmental research throughout the country.
Flight Training Adelaide’s busy operations room is also on the agenda, where our students watch pilots check in for their flights, study weather reports and follow flight paths.
They then see where the trainees live on-site for up to 18 months during their training as well as the 350-capacity mess hall, gym, basketball and tennis courts, soccer pitch and multi-million dollar flight simulator facilities.
Year 12 Coordinator Mr Peck is one of the teachers who has been fortunate enough to accompany students on the excursion.
“This is one of the most interesting educational trips Salisbury East High School has the pleasure of going on," he said.
"Chris Griffiths provides our students with such an engaging and detailed insight into the daily operations of one of Australia’s busiest airports.
“China is gradually opening up airspace to make room for its rapidly increasing commercial flights market and Boeing report up to 20,000 new pilots are needed each year for the next 20 years.
“Aircrew and engineers will also be required to support this growth in the industry so there are very real and viable pathways available for those interested in pursuing a career in aviation.
“These trips to Parafield Airport give our students some food for thought for the future, even more so after gaining so much knowledge about a facility that is quite literally on their doorstep.”
Earlier this year Salisbury East High School began the exciting new partnership with Parafield Airport through their innovative STEM Wings initiative, which looks at training and work opportunities in the aviation industry.
Anyone interested in finding out more about the many options that are available should speak to Assistant Principal Miss Riley.