Summer Camp at Northampton Airport teaching teens how to fly

Hampshire County

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) — Imagine this: a summer camp that’s teaching important life lessons at roughly 3,000 feet in the air.

At the Northampton Airport, that’s what they’re doing; using engineless planes called gliders, putting teens 14 and up in the front seat.

“These kids love it so I find it fun. It’s just completely different from having a plane with an engine,” said Aidan Bartos, one of the flight instructors.

Dave Strassburg got the idea to introduce teens to gliders a few years ago when he was renewing his certifications, now it’s part of the summer camp program. Here’s how it works: a plane will tow the glider to get it in the air, and then it’s able to coast.

“It’s not unusual to be flying alongside a bald eagle or a hawk or something like that,” said Strassburg.

It’s not all fun and games, however. Dave is teaching skills like communication, teamwork, and decision-making. All things a pilot needs to launch their career in aviation.

“Gliders are really flying in its purest form,” Strassburg told 22News. “When you look at the Wright Brothers I mean they spent three years flying gliders before they ever tried to put an engine on one. So we’re going to expose these kids to flying at a younger age. When they do decide to transition to airplanes they’re going to be much better pilots.”

To learn more about the camp, click here.

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