HK students prepare to take flight

Established in 1917, La Salle College is meeting the modern age with Hong Kong’s first on-campus school aviation laboratory complete with professional flight training simulator.

“The Aerospace Project” received funding from the Life Wide Learning Fund which was set up in 2002 with a donation to the Education Bureau (EDB) from The Hong Kong Jockey Club. Drawn from the club’s Charities Trust, the Life Learning Fund encourages learning activities outside the classroom at primary and secondary schools.

La Salle College secured the HK$603,000 (US$77,793) to “procure equipment, consumables and learning resources for promoting life-wide learning for STEM Flight simulators to implement aerospace education.”

Students achieve objectives beyond the classroom with experiences that provide knowledge, skills, positive values and attitudes and develop lifelong learning capabilities while fostering whole-person development.

Photo credit: Mike Petrucci
Photo credit: Mike Petrucci

The “Aerospace” program

Designed to nurture aviation professionals within the school’s STEM curriculum development, the professional aviation training is comparable to flying school, complete with scientific theory of aircraft operation.

The project features a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) accredited three-axis Full Motion advanced flight training simulator and six PC desktops that feature simulation aircraft with the same functions and configuration as a real aircraft.

The equipment provides real scene simulation of turning, impact, landing and other events in the cockpit along with actual motion, including left and right steering, ascent and fall. All instruments match the functions and configurations in an actual aircraft and students will master flying skills and receive flight assessment while accumulating flight experience.

Six desktop PC flight simulators provide one-on-one operating guidance opportunities, allowing students to observe and learn up close and practice in real time.

The pilot project of the Aerospace program offers three aviation professional courses using the equipment to train students and teach related operations along with pilot ground theory courses, including aviation theory, flight laws, etc. Upon completion, students can go to an overseas flight school and apply the credits towards obtaining a solo certificate.

Photo credit: Dan Lohmar

STEM social trends

The Aerospace project responds to STEM trends while nurturing future pilots, aircraft engineers and other aviation industry professionals and supplying fresh talent for aviation industry. By combining science, technology, engineering and mathematics, providing opportunities to convert knowledge into practice, students are encouraged to learn through experience.

Students understand the physics behind the operation of an aircraft, the instruments on the aircraft, and all the equipment that cooperates with the flight, elevation, and communication. The school curriculum also covers air frame design, weight, aircraft trajectory, elevation angle, speed and other calculations, and touching on physics and astronomy.

Professional aviation courses

La Salle College and the Association HK Aerospace Leaders Association are collaborating to provide professional introductory and advanced aviation and pilot courses.

The introductory aviation course is aimed at junior high school students interested in flying by introducing basic aviation knowledge supplemented by experiments in preparation for advanced course. The advanced course explores advanced aviation theory, aircraft system operation and aviation meteorology to master skills necessary to become a pilot.

Photo credit: Shaun Darwood
Photo credit: Shaun Darwood

High school students who intend to obtain a private jet license (PPL) will study the pilot course, based on compulsory subjects for the FAA private jet license. Students conduct simulated flight training in the aerospace laboratory, master and familiarize themselves with relevant skills in preparation for the single-person flight certificate under the guidance of instructors from the Hong Kong Aerospace Leaders Association.