Patriots Point, Charleston Harbor, South Carolina— February 1, 2023, students from across South Carolina will board the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier at Patriots Point on a mission to address the nationwide shortage of pilots. Students will demonstrate their aviation knowledge and skills during AviCom, an eSports for aviators competition aligned with academic and industry standards. The Grand Prize of a $1,000 flight training scholarship will go to the aviator with the best-combined score in all three events: simulated flight, airman knowledge, and aircraft recognition. Everything AviCom can be found here: www.scaviationhs.org.
The Patriots Point Flight Academy, located on the USS Yorktown, offers state of the art classrooms, simulation labs, and a Pilot Ready Room, all within the Conning Tower. The flight simulators are running Lockheed Martin software, Prepar3D, and are used to simulate civil and military aviation missions. Patriots Point Flight Academy is operated by the State of South Carolina with support from American Airlines and Boeing Corporation.
Doug Adomatis, AviCom organizer and aviation instructor at Greenville Technical Charter High School, says "the idea for the competition stems from the success I was having in the classroom. I saw an immediate improvement in student abilities when they began to compete with each other on the flight simulators and thought this is something all of the high school aviation programs should try.” Thanks to a grant from South Carolina Aeronautics Commission (SCAC) Adomatis has organized the competition along with sponsors from aviation universities and flight academies. Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum, is a great fit for AviCom and as John Fitzgibbon, President of TEQ games notes, “Patriots Point Flight Academy combines state-of-the-art technology with a robust historical and educational setting for a truly unique experience.”
The South Carolina Aeronautics Commission grant includes funding for consulting with certified flight instructors and event planners, as well as support for teachers and students preparing for the event. Adomatis consulted with Robb Williams, Executive Director at Triple Tree Aerodrome, for planning AviCom who believes “This is one of the most significant things that has happened for youth aviation education in South Carolina.”
Mission objectives are based on academic and Airman Certification Standards; however, training for the competition is an extracurricular activity. Many schools and career centers across the state have flight simulators students use during their free time or after class. Greenville Technical Charter High School has an afterschool Aerospace Club where most students practice using flight simulators provided through federal grants and local partnerships with companies such as Lockheed Martin. Sponsors of AviCom 2023 include Lift Academy and Charleston Southern University.
Ten high school aviation teams, each with up to 4 members, are set to compete.
A panel discussion is planned that will include: representatives from American Airlines, SC Air National Guard, Federal Aviation Administration, Trident Tech, LIFT Leadership In Flight Training, and Charleston Southern University.
Adomatis is optimistic that AviCom 2023 is the first of many high school aviation competitions as interest in aeronautics and flying takes off with young people.
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