HOLT, Mich. (WLNS) – The sky is the limit for some Holt High School students, as they pursue their passion for flight right in the classrooms, using real drones.

“Working on planes I was like oh that’s what I wanna do I’ve always been fascinated with mechanics and stuff,” said student Payton Chamberlain.

Students like Chamberlain are getting their lessons in the air thanks to Holt High’s aviation program.

The school offers two courses. One course, “introductions to drones” puts students on a path to becoming commercial drone pilots.

The second course prepares them for a written exam to get their pilot’s license.

Chamberlain says this will help her land her dream job as a plane mechanic.

“My parents have gotten mad at me because I won’t stop talking about it. I think I’m going to go to a community college for training and becoming a mechanic for planes so this is definitely helping me a lot with that,” Chamberlain said.

The district has partnered with Lansing Community College and Western Michigan University which has one of the best aviation programs in the country.

Alex Phan plans to use her experience to build plans from the ground up.

“I feel very happy that I get to have this opportunity. Maybe if I went to a different school, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to learn as early. And I know flight schools are pretty expensive so we’re pretty much learning the basics here for free,” Phan said.

Right now, there is a huge shortage of pilots around the world. A number that could reach 30,000 by 2025.

Programs like these can help fill that gap.

“And then to have an elective like this in high school, it’s really engaging for them. They start to see the purpose of how their high school experience relates to their post-secondary goals,” said Director of Secondary Programs Lucas Schrauben.

Whether it’s a job as a pilot, mechanic, or technician, the transition will be a smooth landing for these students.