To inspire a new generation of aviation professionals, Avelo Airlines flew 35 East Haven, Connecticut, middle students in May to Orlando to visit its flight training center, which is expected to officially open in the first half of 2024.

 As part of its Aviation Career Exploration (ACE) program, Avelo is flying the students, as well as several East Haven Public Schools teachers, staff and administrators roundtrip at no charge from its Tweed-New Haven Airport base  to Orlando International Airport. In addition to touring the facility, students were able fly its commercial airline flight simulators.

Avelo’s flight training center is operated by Avenger Flight Group, a privately owned flight training organization. The Orlando flight training campus includes a suite of $10 million commercial airline flight simulators, as well as other training facilities utilized by pilots and flight attendants from major U.S. and international airlines. Avelo Airlines currently employs 150 pilots and 200 flight attendants.

The six-month ACE program is the first middle-school-focused curriculum of its kind in the country to inspire a new generation of aerospace professionals, says the airline. East Haven Public Schools and Avelo Airlines are collaborating with Exploring – a co-ed career awareness program run by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) – to provide essential curriculum development and program management.

To inspire young people to consider aerospace careers earlier in their education journey than conventional high school career orientation programs, students were selected from the 6th, 7th and 8th grades. Middle school-aged children are still young enough to adjust their academic and extracurricular choices to prepare them for an aerospace career.

According to East Haven Public Schools, more than 50% of their middle school students are believed to have never flown on a commercial airline flight. The ACE Program is intended to expose students and their parents to the broad range of aerospace career opportunities.

Aerospace is one of the fastest-growing U.S. job sectors, employing more than 1 million people. The aerospace sector expects to see an especially significant surge in space exploration-related jobs as the private space sector grows.