McKinney high schoolers aim for the skies

McKinney students learning to fly planes

MCKINNEY, Texas -- McKinney Boyd High School senior Richard Rensing has never felt quite like this.

“It’s an extreme love,” he said.

Ever since catching the love bug, his head has been in the clouds. He’s so in love that he doesn’t want to come back down to Earth because the view is just too good.

“Some kids don’t even have their driver’s license still and they’re seniors. Let alone a pilot’s license,” he said.

Richard and his classmate Erica Swenson are students in the McKinney ISD Aviation Academy. The program was started in 2011 to teach students the history of planes, how to work on them, and how to fly them.

Nearly 500 kids have gone through the program, but in six years not one had ever gotten their pilot’s license while still in high school.

That is, until Erica got hers in December and Richard followed with his in February.

“It’s kinda like, ‘Oh, they let me do this. I’m allowed to fly airplanes,’” Swenson said.

They’re the only high school pilots in all of McKinney ISD. Their instructor, Todd Curtis, says it’s not only incredibly impressive, it’s necessary.

“The workforce is actually aging rapidly and it’s not being replaced by younger, new pilots,” Curtis said.

Erica and Richard have a big head start on that career, but they don’t plan on working. Because when you’ve fallen for something this hard, it’s simply a labor of love.

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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