PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Local students are soaring to new heights this summer, as an annual aviation camp is coming back to the Panama City Beach area in June.
Island Air Express, a local flight training company, is putting on “AeroCamp” for middle and high schoolers from June 7th – 11th at their facility near SheltAir and Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport. Island Air Express Owner Ronald Jarmon said on Wednesday that it’s a program aimed at making math and science engaging for students.
“The goal is to get kids interested in STEM,” Jarmon said. “We use a lot of math and engineering as well so that will definitely broaden their skills.”
He said the camp includes learning about the physics of flight and the basics of airplanes as well as runway dynamics both on the private airstrip and commercial runway at ECP. Along with virtual flight simulation demonstrations, Jarmon said there will be multiple site visits around the airport to share the aviation world with the campers, partnering with the airport to make it happen.
“Aviation is not just about flying, but there’s other entities in aviation as far as maintenance, police, fire department, so it’s a lot,” he said. “It’s just like a little city of its own.”
ECP Executive Director Parker McClellan said the airport is excited to help put on “AeroCamp” once again, as they have in the past years. He said that introducing the aviation industry to students can show them new and promising career opportunities that are available locally.
“We have a lot of different things that people don’t get to see everyday,” McClellan said. “We like to be able to share those things and kind of make a difference in the community.”
Jarmon said he’s seen the difference first-hand, as many of the kids who have participated in AeroCamp in the past want to come back to learn more.
“On average, about ten of the kids will come back and say,’ ‘here I want to do something in aviation,’” he said. “That experience goes for a lifetime.”
There will be 20 spots open for AeroCamp, available on a first come, first serve basis.
More information about the camp costs and registration details can be found by clicking here; Jarmon said COVID-19 precautions will be in place throughout the experience.