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  • Writer's picturePress Release

Norfolk Can Fly STEM Event This Weekend

Presented by Commonwealth Aviation, Norfolk Delegate, and Aviation Institute of Maintenance Present Workforce

Words and Image Courtesy of Delegate Jackie Glass.

Commonwealth Aviation, Delegate Jackie Glass, and Aviation Institute of Maintenance Present Workforce and STEM event ‘Norfolk Can Fly,’ taking place at Norfolk International Airport on May 21st.

This public-private partnership is proud to bring ‘Norfolk Can Fly’ to Norfolk for the first time. This event will spark curiosity in aviation through speaker panels and engaging activities like drone demonstrations, including a blimp drone, paper and wooden airplane building with contests, and basic crafts for kids using small rivets. Our Girls in Aviation table will offer a slew of pink nail polish and picture opportunities.

Currently, there is a massive shortage of workers in the aviation industry. According to the Regional Airline Association, the U.S. will lose about half of its pilots to retirement in 15 years.

“This shortage spawns the opportunity for the community to make the next generation of diverse aviation workers take over and make Norfolk a prospering hub for the industry and community.” -Del. Jackie Glass, Virginia House of Delegates 89th district

Fewer pilots are leaving the military, and the cost to train as a new pilot is both high and lengthy training. The FAA requires pilots to retire at 65, which hasn’t been a problem until thousands of pilots chose early retirement at the start of the pandemic. Commonwealth Aviation will be having the grand opening of their flight school at the event, the first and only one at Norfolk International Airport (NIT).

“Aviation is full of uplifting opportunities for every community. Industry jobs pay significantly higher than average wages and offer remarkable upward potential. We are excited to share the world of aviation with Hampton Roads, and together, unlock the miracle of flight for Tidewater.” - Kyle McDaniel, Founder, Commonwealth Aviation.

At the entry-level, many aviation industry stakeholders have recognized the need to reach out to students at an early age to nurture a talent pipeline—as one way to deal with the recent shortage of pilots. The Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) has been doing just that through its partnership with Norfolk Public Schools, and now Norfolk Can Fly. AIM will be at this event, and parents are encouraged to speak with AIM about their child attending AIM’s summer camp.

“AIM is thrilled to be a partner in the Norfolk Can Fly event. Not only do we strive to be responsive to the needs of the aviation industry, but we also strive to bring awareness and opportunity to our local community. This is a wonderful chance for the young people of Norfolk to explore and consider all the career pathways aviation has to offer—while having a lot of fun!”- Aviation Institute of Maintenance.

More details about the event:

  • Free and open to the public.

  • Learn how to become a pilot, meet and talk to pilots of various skill levels and specialties, and get up close and personal with the aircraft (including a homemade plane) as they fly into Norfolk for the event. See flight demonstration.

  • Meet Civil Air Patrol and learn how small planes keep the community safe.

  • Win a free Discovery Fly courtesy of Commonwealth Aviation.

  • Special guests Mayor Kenny Alexander, Osama Eqbal, Ricky Matthew

  • Partners are Signature, Naval Aviation Museum, American Airlines, Virginia Department of Aviation, Virginia Space Grant Consortium, Ninety-Nines International Organization of Women Pilots Hampton Roads Chapter

  • Guest DJ is 15-year-old sensation DJ JT

  • Check out Norfolk Can Fly on Facebook or Eventbrite:

Doors to the General Passenger Terminal on the back of NIT (1125 Miller Store Road) will open at 10 am! From then on, guests will see aircraft and talk to pilots, businesses, and career experts. At 11 am, we will begin with a panel discussion on journeys in aviation and hear guest speakers!

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