Bureau of Aviation Safety and Education

Safety Ilinois Aviation Newsletter

Aviation Education Task Force


To facilitate and develop aviation education career paths for high school students in Illinois utilizing all resources available from private and public sponsors to prepare them to pursue a course of study in any of the aviation disciplines.

Objectives and Scope of Activities

The Task Force will develop and provide independent recommendations and strategies to the IDA Deputy Director of Aeronautics:

  • Facilitate and encourage high school students in Illinois to enroll in and complete career and technical education courses, including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), that will prepare them to pursue a course of study related to an aviation career at an institution of higher education, a community college, or trade school;
  • Facilitate and encourage these students to enroll in a course of study related to an aviation career, including aviation manufacturing, engineering, and maintenance, at an institution of higher education, including a community college or trade school.
  • Identify and develop pathways for students to secure registered apprenticeships, workforce development programs, or careers in the Illinois aviation industry.
Description of Duties
  • Identify industry trends that encourage or discourage youth in Illinois from pursuing careers in aviation
  • Consider how the FAA; air carriers; aircraft, powerplant, and avionics manufacturers; aircraft repair stations; and other aviation stakeholders can coordinate efforts to support youth in pursuing careers in aviation in Illinois.
  • Identify methods of enhancing aviation apprenticeships, job skills training, mentorship, education, and outreach programs that are exclusive to youth in Illinois.
  • Identify potential sources of government and private sector funding, including grants and scholarships, that may be used to carry out the recommendations and strategies and to support youth in pursuing careers in aviation in Illinois.



AOPA has identified a gap in aviation youth education that no other organization is filling. By working with high schools directly, we are helping to expose a diverse group of students to aviation that might otherwise never realize that a career as a pilot or in a drone-related field is completely within reach.

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Safety & Education Resources


FAA Announces Grants for Aviation Careers (Sep 10, 2020)
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today issued a Federal Register Notice announcing the Aircraft Pilots Workforce Development Grant Program. The program will expand the pilot workforce and will help high school students receive training to become aerospace engineers or unmanned aircraft systems operators. The program also prepares teachers to train students for jobs in the aviation industry.

In Fiscal Year 2020, Congress appropriated $5 million to create and deliver a training curriculum to address the projected shortages of aircraft pilots. Eligible groups may apply for grants from $25,000 to $500,000. Potential applicants are encouraged to visit the program website. The FAA will accept public comments on the Federal Register Notice until September 24, 2020.

Redbird Connect is a New Virtual Training Platform
Redbird Flight Simulations is providing free access to a new product that enables flight instructors to conduct remote flight simulator sessions with students. Redbird is offering the new product for free as flight schools and instructors adjust their operations during the global coronavirus pandemic.

Redbird Connect provides a platform for flight instructors and their students from all over the world to safely resume flight lessons through flight simulation and video conferencing technology. This platform enables remote access to a web-based version of Redbird’s flight simulator operating system, Redbird Navigator, which gives flight instructors full functionality of the system’s instructor tools.

To use Redbird Connect in their flight training, students will be able to download and install the product on any Redbird flight simulator that has the Navigator operating system installed. For more information visit RedBird Flight Simulations.

AeroStar Avion Institute
This is a GREAT Illinois success story.  All of AeroStar’s programs exist with the vision to enhance, promote, and support the academic awareness of aviation and aeronautical career path opportunities for students, particularly female, minority, underprivileged, and at-risk youth. By providing aviation academic curriculum development, programs, activities, and support services for youth Grades K-12, interested in Science, Technology, Engineering & Math, AeroStar has paved the way for the future of our industry.

AOPA High School Initiative 
AOPA’s High School Initiative is helping to build and sustain high school aviation programs and to provide flight training opportunities to students. AOPA is developing a 4-year aviation curriculum for 3 career pathways (pilot, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or drone), and aeronautical engineering) that will be available for free to high schools. Educators are invited to participate in the development/field testing of the new curriculum.

FAA Educational Resources
The FAA’s Education page provides teachers with a list of aviation-focused activities and experiments for the classroom. Most of the activities and downloadable curriculum ideas can be found under the Activities and Classroom Curriculum links. The page also lists aviation programs and grant and scholarship opportunities.

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s educator web page contains activities and resources for lesson planning, including full lesson plans on various topics in aviation and astronautics. It also offers electronic field trips for classes and hosts videoconferencing events. The site includes information about a variety of workshops offering teachers professional development opportunities.