Before they can drive a car, Indooroopilly State High School students like April Chin are flying planes solo.
Indro is one of the few schools in Queensland that offer Aviation as a subject to senior students. It is part of the Aerospace Gateway to Industry Schools Program run by Aviation Australia and the Queensland Government.
Each Wednesday, Aviation teachers Peter Rolandsen and Kelly Breen take the Aviation students to Archerfield Airport, where they attend various flying schools and practise their flying competency.
Matt Reid, Head of Department – Partnerships, Digital Learning, Aerospace and Aviation, said the three-year journey in flying took students from solo flights in Year 10 to gaining a recreational pilot’s licence by the end of Year 11 and potentially gaining a private pilot’s licence by end of Year 12.
“They can fly before they can drive a car. I find that phenomenal,” Mr Reid said.
“We’ve had students who are commercial pilots and logistics pilots, and many have gone on to study Aviation at Griffith University.
“They have those real-world skills before they enter the university theoretical side.”
The current Aviation enrolment of 14 Year 10 and 11 students is Indro’s largest contingent of Aviation students in years.
At Archerfield, students work with a training pilot up in the air and get one-on-one tutorials in navigation, aerodynamics and all aspects of flying.
So far in 2019, Year 11 students April Chin and Jay Kandera have completed their solos.
Before she could even drive a car, April achieved her first solo flight during the 2018-19 summer holidays as she continued taking lessons at her flying school.
Jay has been attending flying lessons every Wednesday afternoon, developing the necessary skills to pilot an aircraft by himself and to communicate with the control tower. Jay successfully completed his first solo flight in Term 1 this year.
“I was scared and excited, but mostly just concentrating on everything I had to do,” Jay said.
Indro teachers Mr Rolandsen and Ms Breen have a wealth of aviation experience, guiding the students and working with flight schools to make sure our aspiring pilots are on track, progressing through the theory as well as their practical logs.
Mr Rolandsen, a recreational pilot, has been running the school’s Aviation program for 21 years, while Ms Breen has worked as a commercial pilot in the US and Canada before high school teaching.
The Aviation program is a significant investment for students and their families – the weekly lesson with a private flying school is upward of $300.
While Aviation is a non-ATAR subject, students also have the opportunity to study Aerospace Systems, a program that has been operating at the school for more than a decade.
Students in this course learn about the aerospace industry, navigation, communication, asset control and any craft that flies or goes into space.
About Peter Rolandsen
Peter Rolandsen is one of Indooroopilly State High School’s Aerospace Systems and Aviation teachers. Peter has significant experience in the field of private Aviation, earning his Private Pilot’s Licence in 1976 from Gil Layts Flying School. Peter was able to combine his interest in aviation and teaching and introduced Aviation to Indooroopilly SHS in 1999. With Peter’s assistance, Aviation has been successfully running since, seeing many students achieve their first solo flight and competently working towards either their Recreational Pilot’s Licence or Private Pilot’s Licence. Peter saw the introduction of Aerospace Systems to Indooroopilly SHS in 2006, a class that gives students the opportunity to learn theoretical components of aviation, and introduces students to career opportunities in the Aerospace and Aviation industry. Peter feels privileged to offer the Aviation class, as Indooroopilly SHS is one of few high schools with an Aviation program, and the prospect of engaging in flying lessons while at school excites many students.
About Kelly Breen
Kelly Breen is one of Indooroopilly State High School’s Aerospace Systems & Aviation Teachers. Whilst at high school, she learned to fly gliders and got her first taste of flying. Following that, Kelly worked in flying instruction including teaching a first-year subject in aerospace at the University of Western Sydney. She has also worked as a charter and airline pilot before starting high school teaching. Kelly enjoys working in a school that offers subjects such as Aerospace and Aviation, which allows students to find their own areas of interest in the truly broad and dynamic field of Aerospace.
About our video
The Aviation at Indro SHS video was filmed and edited by Indro’s Media Arts Production Team, which comprises students from the school’s Film, Television and New Media course.