A dual-enrollment program for Gallatin County high school students is expanding to add flight school to the list of classes.
Dual enrollment allows students to earn both high school and college credit taking college-level courses through Gallatin College at Montana State University.
There were 152 students enrolled in the program during the 2013-14 school year. The program operates at Bozeman High and Belgrade High currently. It will start at Park High in Livingston in the fall of 2014.
Amy Williams oversees Gallatin College's dual-enrollment program. She says after meeting with a Manhattan teacher about the possibility of offering aviation training to high schoolers, the close proximity to Summit Aviation at Bozeman-Yellowstone International Airport helped get the ball rolling quickly.
Williams said, "The airport was a great, central location for all students in the Gallatin Valley."
The goal of the program is to provide high schoolers interested in aviation an opportunity to learn more while earning college credit.
The course focuses on ground training largely taught in a classroom. They will learn the basics from Ryan Haskins, the director of Gallatin College's aviation program.
"I teach this course knowing that students are going to be moving on to be commercial pilots," Haskins explained.
Haskins' class covers communications, mechanics, air safety and flight maneuvers. "The course for our ground school course is certainly a very large component of getting your pilot's license," he explained.
As part of the dual enrollment option, high school students receive the training at half price, around $250.
Haskins said, "This class is a very inexpensive way to experience aviation. To sort of test the waters, get your feet wet. To see if this is something that's a good fit for the student."
The ground school is just one part of getting a pilot's license -- flight training is also required. Williams says students do not have to enroll in flight training to complete the course but expects many to take the second class.
Williams told us, "It's going to be great for students who know that this is the career path they want to get on. And they can start right in high school."
There are seven seats open to high school students. They have until July 25 to enroll, with classes beginning August 25.