Share This Article
Editor’s Note: the owners of the Mountain Home Observer are donors to the Leading Edge Aviation Foundation who in turn donated to Mountain Home Public Schools’s aviation program.
As 2023-2024 school year began, a number of Mountain Home High School students began an aviation STEM study program initiated by the Leading Edge Aviation Foundation and implemented by the Mountain Home School District.
The Aviation I class has 48 students building a base of aerospace-industry knowledge necessary to advance to the Aviation II and III levels in coming school years. It is expected they will be joined each term with a like number of aviation-minded students to fill out the program with 150 students by 2025.
The Leading Edge Aviation Foundation, a 501(c)(3) IRS-certified nonprofit entity, is comprised of local pilots who have enjoyed aviation in their own lives and want to provide assistance to others, including students, who may benefit from education or training for careers in the aviation industry.
The mission “to educate, encourage and provide financial assistance to people interested in aviation who might otherwise be excluded” is accomplished with donations from community businesses and individuals who support increased opportunities for the community through the aerospace industry.
To support the new AOPA aviation STEM curriculum that on graduation leads to FAA certificates as either (a) commercial drone operator or (b) completion of the private pilot knowledge test, the foundation provides airport visits for students and teachers to learn about airport operations and aviation industry and aerospace careers of all types. One one visit, the entire MHHS sophomore class on one day was able to get up close to airplanes and pilots.
In 2023, the foundation, using funds donated by the Mountain Home community, purchased and donated to MHHS FAA-certified flight simulators for use in the aviation classroom. Other significant achievements include:
• Sponsoring a high-school senior internship in aviation management
• Foundation pilots and mechanics support Career Days at the MHHS and Mountain Home Junior High School
• An “Aviation Corner” maintained at MHHS and MHJHS libraries stocked with aviation periodicals free for the taking by students
• Added scholarships and cash awards to students to attend aviation camps and pursue further aerospace industry education and training.
The new year brings more opportunities and new goals for the foundation to win donations from businesses and individuals in support of bringing increased opportunities for our residents to access aviation. Priorities are:
• Increase annual scholarships for aviation experiences and post-graduate aerospace industry careers
• Grow the Aviation I and II classes to 100 students advancing towards FAA certifications
• Provide additional equipment and materials to expand the drone program and supply the aviation laboratory
• Expand the live flight experiences available for students using local aircraft and pilots.
Leading 2023 donors include Chris and Alison Fulton, Gerald Verzal and Kathy Kartheiser, First Service Corporation, Genuine Care Pharmacy, Dr. Jacob and Patty Dickinson, John R. Bolding, Robert and Linda Zdora, Drs. Dmitry and Veronika Zak, Jason and Kammi Nazarenko and Farmer’s and Merchant’s Bank. Donors receive a W-9 receipt and the gratitude of all the students, teachers and area pilots.
Tax-deductible donations may be made by emailing [email protected]. Call (870) 656-6005 for more information.