Pilot Lights

Dr. Jim Lee, Landmark Aviation Academy instructor,  invites experts to participate in developing the program and curriculum of the Landmark Aviation Academy. One guest speaker is Mr. Alex Okland,  a Delta Flight Instructor and 1st Officer. Mr. Okland says, “Once I heard about the vision of the Landmark Aviation Academy, I thought, wait a minute; this may be a place where we can plug in, invest and make a difference in the lives of students and in the future of Aviation.” Mr. Okland spends the majority of his time, now, in Delta simulators training pilots. And at least one day a week, he volunteers to co-teach Aviation I & II with Dr. Lee. 
The Landmark Christian School Aviation Academy is not a pilot-training program;  it’s more of a vision-casting program. Aviation I and II is introducing and facilitating opportunities. “25 years ago, it was brutal to go to work for Aviation. There were so many barriers to entry. Those barriers are gone. The doors are open, and we are creating very real pathways for students that are interested. It is a very exciting time to be introduced in flight,” says Mr. Okland.  

Mr. Okland knows exactly how Delta trains pilots. “We can start that now,” he says. Delta recently launched its Propel Program to addressing the upcoming diabolical pilot shortage and groom relationships with universities such as Auburn, Middle Tennessee, MIddle Georgia, and Embry-Riddle. Delta is co-sponsoring these universities’ Aviation programs so there is a clear pathway from college to cockpit.  

All Systems Set
In Aviation, students learn about weather, perception, dimension, perspective, regulations, what it’s like in the day of a life, and they experience flight simulation. Most importantly, they begin to imagine endless possibilities - where the sky is the limit.  

Dr. Lee brings the history of aviation to life. Students travel through time, study the lessons and wisdom of past aviators and events. Classes examine such legendary figures as Da Vinci, the Wright brothers, Bessie Coleman, Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, the Tuskegee Airmen, Chuck Yeager, Stephanie Johnson, and Dawn Cook, and rigorously discuss how to apply what those figures learned and how to apply that to modern-day success in aviation. 

Mr. Okland shares, “Dr. Lee’s passion for learning and inspiring students to take flight is contagious.” But it is the experience that demonstrates to the students, for themselves, that whatever they set their minds to achieve - is possible, given discipline, attention and devotion to the work required to achieve it.  

Academy Approval 
Another Aviation Academy regular speaker, retired Air Force Colonel Angie Faulise, shares, “What Dr. Lee is doing in his aviation classes is unlike anything I’ve seen before. He is bringing the skies to them and taking them to the skies. There is integration and connection. There are a lot of rules and regulations in learning to fly, which are boring. It is a challenge, learning to balance that and maintain a student’s enthusiasm. But his enthusiasm is real; it’s both humbling and contagious.” 

“Dr. Lee has a way of recognizing and igniting this rare and indescribable passion for the sky in his students,” shares Mrs. Elisa Lyles, mother of Max Lyles (‘21). Max will be attending Embry Riddle and pursuing Aviation - as part of Delta Propel program.  

Dr. Lee shares his enthusiasm for the future of piloting as a career option for students: “Aviation is now a worldwide phenomenon and it needs millions of qualified workers to keep the industry in the skies. Why not provide a pathway for our kids who already have a love and passion for aviation and show them the way while they are still skilled at dreaming?” 


(Image of Mr. Oakland lecturing in Aviation Academy)
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