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      Students take to the skies

      Senior Justyn Persu (right) co-pilots an airplane

      It was a windy day when Justyn Persu flew a plane for his very first time. The high school senior from Livonia, Michigan completed a week-long aviation class to learn about flying and put his lessons to the ultimate test.

      â??I think today was the greatest day because we get to actually fly the planes that weâ??ve learned about all week,â?? said Persu.

      The Civil Air Patrol and Experimental Aviation Association volunteers every summer to teach high school students about flying at the Houghton County Memorial Airport for Michigan Tech's Summer Youth Programs.

      â??What weâ??ve been doing is teaching them all sorts of different things about the basics of flying in classroom lectures and that sort of thing,â?? explained Civil Air Patrol 2nd Lt. Kevin Cadeau. â??And then, weâ??ve been doing a flight simulator program.â??

      But according to the students, the simulators just donâ??t compare to the real thing.

      â??The simulator has nothing on the actual flight,â?? said Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan senior, Zachary Clark. â??The detail, itâ??s stunning."

      â??Flying the plane and really actually grabbing the wheel, kind of turning it around and stuff like that was actually really interesting and really fun,â?? Persu said.

      Retired airline and Air Force pilots volunteered to help co-pilot the planes, but despite the expert guidance, Persu said it was a little nerve-wracking.

      â??Going into it from the take-off to the landing is really all action-packed, and you donâ??t know if anything could go wrong, if something could happen,â?? Persu said.

      â??You go from slightly weightless to slightly heavier in a very short amount of time, and itâ??s pretty frightening,â?? Clark added.

      The students said nerves aside, itâ??s an experience they would recommend to anyone.

      â??Itâ??s an exhilarating thing to do, and itâ??s something that you have to try, got to put it on your bucket list,â?? Cadeau said.