The Student News Site of Bellevue East High School

The Tom Tom

The Student News Site of Bellevue East High School

The Tom Tom

The Student News Site of Bellevue East High School

The Tom Tom

Aviation program arrives to Frank Kumor Center

Taking flight. The new flight simulators (left) will be introduced to the Frank Kumor Career Center for those students who are enrolled in the new aviation program. They will allow the students to have a chance to see and really experience how it feels to fly real aircraft. “We are happy with our students’ initial interest in the program, given that the program is new and the facility is not yet ready,” Superintendent Robert Moore said. “Having 30 students apply is excellent. I believe students will be blown away once they see the program firsthand in our new facility. The program, when complete, will have space for about 48 students maximum.” Photos courtesy of Robert Moore

Bellevue Public Schools has recently announced that they were awarded a $2 million Department of Defense Education grant. This award will be used for the span of five years, going toward Operation Taking Flight, whose goal is to increase students’ math abilities and initiate a new aviation academy. The grant funds the costs of the math curriculum development, and brings the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Foundation High School Aviation STEM curriculum to high school students at both Bellevue East and West. The new aviation program will be taught at the Frank Kumor Center in Bellevue, beginning in the 2024-2025 school year for juniors and seniors to sign up.

“The BPS Aviation Academy program focuses on preparing students for careers in aviation-related industries and prepares students for the FAA Private Pilot Knowledge exam and FAA Part 107 Unmanned Aviation System (UAS) Remote Pilot Knowledge Test,” Assistant Superintendent Robert Moore said. “The year-long program will allow students pursuing the certifications to have hands-on experiences related to the aircraft they may one day operate through state-of-the-art aircraft simulators and aerial drones integrated throughout the course,” 

The program consists of five modules, and includes many different field trips and engaging experiences related to aviation. These are: Introduction to Flight, Aircraft Systems and Performance, The Flying Environment, Flight Planning, and UAS (drone) Operations. The program is predicted to increase students’ math skills.

“The program will allow students the opportunity to study aviation-related fields and have hands-on experiences utilizing state-of-the-art aviation simulators,” Moore said. “Students will also have the opportunity to learn to operate and fly drones. With the private pilot knowledge test, students will be qualified to start flying programs. With the drone certifications, students will be able to operate drones commercially.” 

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Aviation students who are interested in this program will be allowed to learn hands-on and gain experience for what can possibly be their future job. As of February 15, there were 30 applicants planning on enrolling. The program has enough room for 40 students in year one.

According to, “Students will have a chance to earn industry certifications and pass milestones within courses that follow science, technology, engineering, math career, and technical education pathways focusing on pilot and unmanned aircraft systems.”

The new aviation instructor, Bob Condrey, is an instrumented rated pilot and FAA Advanced Ground Instructor. He has built and flown multiple experimental aircraft, and has mentored teen builds of experimental aircraft. He is a technical counselor for the Experimental Aircraft Association, meaning he provides mentoring, counseling, and training for people who build experimental aircraft.

“I’m really excited about exposing students to aviation because it’s a passion of mine, but is also truly a field where there is a diverse and wide ranging collection of high paying careers,” Condrey said.

Any students who are interested in participating will be provided knowledge training to be both private pilots and commercial drone pilots. The training could be a helpful skill for their future career.

“The private pilot is frequently used as a stepping stone toward becoming a career commercial or airline pilot, both areas forecast to be in huge demand in the upcoming years,” Condrey said.

The Frank Kumor Career Center building is currently being remodeled and constructed right now for the new aviation program. When remodeling is complete, many pieces of equipment, including aircraft simulators and drones, will be provided.

“I’ve been to numerous high schools, and this will be nicer than any I’ve seen,” Condrey said.

Counselor Sarah Strawn looks forward to helping East students enroll in the news program.

“I am so pumped to have the aviation program come to the Frank Kumor Center,” Strawn said. “We are so lucky to have Offutt Air Force Base close to us to get kids excited about a career in aviation either in the Air Force or commercially. I think it’s really going to be a great opportunity for our kids.”

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Layla Hango, Opinion Editor
Hey I’m Layla and I’m the opinion editor for the Tom Tom! I feel like that’s a fitting role for me because I am a very opinionated person and I love reading and listening to everyone else’s opinions. I’m from California so I love the beach and miss living on the coast. Although I love journalism and writing for the newspaper, in the future I want to be a movie producer. I like to make and edit my own home movies with my siblings.

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