Thirty high school students and seven police officers from the High Point University Youth Leadership Academy got a chance to “fly” in the flight simulators at Simmons Army Airfield’s Southeastern Regional Simulation Complex on Tuesday.
One of the students’ favorite simulations was the Black Hawk. The first group to try it out consisted of five students.
Brian Ross, aircrew training device instructor with Warrior Training Alliance, gave the students a briefing on the uses of the simulation for Soldiers and the equipment they themselves were to use.
Two boys started in NCM3 and the three girls filed out for a different room.
Freshman Jonah Brooks, who was left gun and had four kills, said the simulation was hard, while right gun, senior Ron Spencer with 14 kills, said it was fun.
The girls came back in and the fifth student, junior Ryonna Warren, took her first turn in the seat alongside Brooks, who was hoping to improve his score of four.
The two girls who had finished gathered around their fellow student Warren. They talked excitedly about their scores and the difficulty of the simulation and offered advice to Warren.
Meanwhile, at the instructor operation station, Ross talked Warren through the simulation and answered Spencer’s question (how many kills do Soldiers typically get?). He responded that Soldiers have different programs; these programs are just the ones they use for tours.
Ross and Spencer watched Brooks’ and Warren’s performance on the monitors, Ross explaining what each number on the screen meant.
“She’s doing good!” Ross said, adding that she was already up to seven kills.
When the simulation was over for the group, Ross announced that Brooks had improved his score with 11 kills this time. Warren had beaten Spencer’s score with 16, making her Top Gun amongst the youth leadership group.
In a separate room, Cleveland Simmons, facility supervisor, stood beside the mock cockpit and led students one-by-one through the Apache simulation. Students were able to fire the gun and missiles in daylight and at night.
In addition to these two, students were able to use five out of the seven 7 devices on site.
High Point has brought their students to these simulations for four years in a row.
“This is stuff these kids will never get to see again …unless they enlist,” said Lieutenant Chris Fox of the High Point Police Department.
Before the students left for lunch, Simmons reminded them of the importance of school and the relationship between history, math, science, and aviation, as evidenced by the briefing the students received before the simulations.
The students are selected for the academy based on their academics, but also social interaction, community relations and school attendance, explained Officer Jonathan Hurt, school resource officer at Southwest Guilford High School.
“They’re just overall really good kids,” he said, adding that they have leadership potential.
During the program, students serve their community and learn about various pieces of it including government, military, and fire department. For participating in the program, they earn 80 service learning hours.