Youth Explorers Learn Aviation From Ground To Wild Blue Skies

Cade Beede’s dream is to travel the world.

“I want to become an airplane pilot for one of the big airlines out there, like United, Delta or American,” the Kalaheo High freshman said. “I want to visit places; I want to fly. I want to look at the beautiful Earth as it’s moving around, meet new people, learn about different cultures.”

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Kalaheo freshman Cade Beede in the air traffic control tower.

And thanks to Island Air Explorers, Beede is getting a head start. The program introduces students age 14-20 to the world of aviation, from the perspectives of pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, air traffic controllers and more, through both classroom lectures and hands-on activities.

Beede’s favorite session focused on airplane maintenance, which took place at Honolulu Community College’s aerospace facility. “We got to look around, and we got to rivet two sheets of metal together,” he recalled, “and they also told us about air crash investigations, like United Airlines 811, and we learned how these crashes can happen.

“We also got to learn what an aircraft is made of and the materials they use.”

Fifteen students go through the program each year. A few of Beede’s future aviator colleagues were Edward Clancey of Le Jardin Academy, Sierra Borges of Castle High and Victoria Countryman of Kahuku High.

The four-month program ended with graduation April 9, when Beede was recognized for his outstanding class performance with the Jaime Wagatsuma Award and a $500 scholarship. This is the seventh season of Island Air Explorers.

“This place is just outstanding — the people, the staff, they’re all experienced, so we get to know what they do,” Beede added. “The kids are so great, and everything is just so good.”

For more information, visit islandair.com/explorers-program.