Students at Mt. Vernon High School FLY HIGH with virtual reality

FORTVILLE, Ind. — Local high school students are flying high with the help of virtual reality technology.

A group of students enrolled in Mt. Vernon High School’s aviation course had the chance to take flight from the comfort of their classroom on Thursday.

“It’s been a dream for a long time and it’s very exciting to find out that I’m actually able to fulfill that dream,” said Castle Llewellyn, a senior at Greenfield Central High School.

The school partnered with Ivy Tech for Lift Academy’s Mobile Flight Simulator.

“They brought out the simulator so they could actually try flying an airplane,” said Jack Morton, an adjunct professor of aviation at Ivy Tech. “This is all about opening their eyes to what opportunities are out there.”

The virtual reality-driven experience allows students to feel as if they’re in the cockpit of an airplane.

“It was very interesting,” said Llewellyn. “Being in a plane and flying it myself before this, it can be realistic. They do a lot of the same things that are in a plane itself in real life.”

Employees with Republic Airlines were also on hand to talk to students about careers in aviation. They said they need approximately 80,000 pilots each year.

“Everyone seems to traditionally think it’s just flying an airplane, but there’s a lot of other things out there in the industry,” said Morton.

Students enrolled in the school’s aviation course receive college credit.

Mt. Vernon High School is one of only seven school districts in the state that offers aviation classes.

“We’re teaching them the material they need to know to pass the FAA written test to become a private pilot and that’s quite a bit of material,” said Morton.