Robotics students at the Foothills Composite High School are elevating their learning with a new Flight Simulator provided by Jazz Airlines.

The simulator which has been running since October is aimed at giving students a greater understanding of how flight works.

Chris Ginakos, Math and Robotics Teacher, says the tool will qualify students to look at the growing drone industry with a critical eye.

"When we look at drone flight, who is most qualified to code, or program a drone to do what it needs to do?" Ginakos asks. "The answer is someone who's had flight simulator experience, we can provide our kids this experience and they can understand the physics and the way air flight actually works. When they program their drones they can understand that there are more elements than just defying gravity that effect flight."

Ginakos says the robotics program has been embracing the autonomous aerial robot model which will be used in many industries from search and rescue, military, and even package delivery.

He said the coupling of the flight simulator with the robotics curriculum has been natural.

"The building blocks of robots are still within the drones, meaning they still need to be programmed or coded, which is an element that we do in robotics. Drones still need to be designed, they still have motors and moving parts, and that all falls under the umbrella of robotics."

Ginakos said the school is fortunate to use the flight simulator within their programming, because very few schools have one.

"This is the Foothills School Division advantage, we are a true composite here and we are providing many avenues for students to explore their interests."

Becky Fegan, Grade 11 Robotics student, agrees with her teacher and is appreciative of the opportunity.

"It's nice to have a school that has so much to offer and the flight simulator is just that next step. The robotics class is amazing and I'm so happy that we have this opportunity in school."

Ginakos would like to thank Jazz Aviation, a long with Wes Harder, a captain with Jazz Aviation for their continued support of learning.

He adds if there is interest down the road perhaps FCHS will create a five credit program geared towards a private pilot's license.


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