Thursday, May 30, 2024

Local pilots teach kids about aviation, small airplanes at Gatesville’s airport.

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Several local homeschool students and their families visited the Gatesville Municipal Airport on Sept. 29 to learn about aviation from Central Texas pilots.

The event was held in collaboration between Centex Aviation, an aircraft maintenance facility at the Gatesville Municipal Airport, and the Gatesville Chamber of Commerce in celebration of the airport becoming a member of the chamber.

“A lot of people in Gatesville don’t know we have an airport, and those that do, do not know where it is,” said Pete Weston, owner of Centex Aviation. 

Approximately 40-60 students from the Shine Christian Homeschool Co-op visited the airport. Local pilots brought out three to four small, single engine airplanes as well as answered questions about flying the aircraft and the process of receiving a pilot’s license. Kids also had the opportunity to climb inside the cockpit of the airplanes and view the instruments up close.

“Aviation is a good thing to have,” said Dana Palmer, a pilot from Gatesville who was at the event. “There’s a pilot shortage right now, so maybe one or two of these kids can get a license and have a career.”

At the end of the event, the kids had the chance to witness two of the planes take off from the ground and fly above the area.

Shine Christian Homeschool Co-op is a Gatesville-based homeschool program for grades PreK-12 that provides extracurricular activities and classes for homeschool students in the Central Texas area.

“I look for things that I want to learn, and I want my children to learn, and we’ve never been to the airport before,” said Gwendy Hardcastle, co-director of the Shine Christian Homeschool Co-op.

Now that the airport is an official member of the Gatesville Chamber of Commerce, President of the Chamber of Commerce Mason Matthews said he hopes to plan more events at the airport as well as use the facility as a resource for the community.  

“We’re happy to have the Gatesville Municipal Airport and Centex Aviation rejoin the Gatesville Chamber of Commerce,” Matthews said. “They were once a member and they rejoined. (We’re) happy to have them and happy to have so many people here for this ribbon-cutting event. We’ve got a lot of good things that we are working on, and that we’re doing here at the chamber.”