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CCSD Pathway Profiles: Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Flight Operations

Posted On: Thursday, November 10, 2022

Flight Pathway (6)

Cherokee College & Career Academy teacher Scott Dubee leads the Career Pathway unmanned aircraft systems and flight operations program.

The Cherokee County School District offers 38 Career Pathway high school programs, which provide students with a wide selection of job exploration and preparation electives.  Through CCSD Pathway Profiles, we’ll regularly share highlights with you from one of these programs.  This week’s profile focuses on Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Flight Operations, which is new to CCSD this year and offered at the Cherokee College & Career Academy (C3) …  

The sky’s the limit for a new Cherokee County School District high school Career Pathway program offering students the opportunity to explore careers in flight.

Woodstock High School sophomore Kellen Lightfoot plans to pursue a career as an airline or corporate jet pilot.  When he learned about the Career Pathway in unmanned aircraft systems and flight operations offered at Cherokee College & Career Academy (C3), it was a perfect fit.

The Pathway is new this school year for CCSD and only offered at C3 with teacher Scott Dubee, who brings 10 years of experience as a U.S. Air Force instructor.  Career programs offered at C3, which is housed on the ACTIVE Academies campus in Canton, are open to all CCSD high school students, who leave their campus to come to C3 for the electives.  Bus transportation now is available at no charge for students who cannot drive themselves to the ACTIVE campus. 

“This class will help me at least get my private pilot license as well as my drone certificate,” said Kellen, who also plans to attend a college program with a flight career path.  “I am not sure what I will major in, but it will most likely be aviation related.”

Mr. Dubee completed his pilot training in the Air Force and served as an air battle manager, accumulating more than 2,500 hours on Joint STARS aircraft.  He now is in his eighth year teaching in K-12 schools, and his second year teaching high school aviation classes.  

“Many students are driven and ready for the workforce when they graduate,” Mr. Dubee said of the value of Career Pathway programs.  “They can take these skills learned in high school and get right to work becoming vital members of society.”

One of his favorite success stories began when a fifth-grader asked him about careers in aviation.  Mr. Dubee arranged for a friend to bring a helicopter to the school’s career day.  The student was so impressed, he began working with the pilot and since has earned his private pilot solo and checkride licenses.  He now is a college junior studying to earn his aircraft mechanics degree.

His classes at C3 offer a variety of engaging lessons, with his favorites using hands-on simulation devices and flight simulators.  “The students get to see and apply the things we talk about in class,” he said.

Within the Pathway, classes offered include: fundamentals of aerospace, flight operations I, unmanned aircraft systems, flight operations II.  Students can earn Federal Aviation Administration Part 107/TRUST and Part 61 industry certifications for small unmanned aircraft systems and pilot ground operations.  Students can compete in SkillsUSA state and national career skills contests.

This Pathway prepares students for careers including, but not limited to: commercial pilot, aerospace engineer, aerospace engineering and operations technician, avionics technician, aircraft mechanic and service technician, commercial drone operation.

The average income range for careers in this Pathway in Georgia is $60,000 to $142,000.  Local and area employers for this Pathway include, but are not limited to: Cherokee County Regional Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Delta, Industrial Access, Wheels Up, FSM Group LLC, Unifi Aviation LLC, UPS, Fed Ex, T2 Utility Engineers, CoStar Group, Cox Media Group. 


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