Automotive students at East Leyden and West Leyden high schools got behind-the-scenes access to an American Airlines hangar at O’Hare International Airport during a recent field trip.
In a Leyden Community High School District 212 news release, school officials explained that students who have taken at least three years of automotive classes – Autos I, Autos II and Service Autos – were able to take the field trip and explore careers in aviation mechanics and operations.
Jason Cardosa, a senior at West Leyden High School, said he had never been on an airplane until this field trip.
“The planes are so huge,” Cardosa said in the release. “I didn’t know there were economy seats and bigger, first-class seats. … More importantly, this really opened me up to a potential career in aviation.”
According to automotive class instructor Paul Potvin, who teaches at East Leyden High School, working on airplanes has a lot of similarities to working on cars.
“This industry has a lot to offer, and a lot of variety, and we want our students to experience and explore the opportunities that are available to them, now, and in the future,” Potvin said in the release.
During the visit, students were able to visit the hangars, view the airplanes’ mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, the baggage compartments and even sit in the cockpit to view the instrument panel, the release states.
The students were able to see real repairs in progress, watch planes get taxied in and out of the hangar and learned about the physical structure and engineering of the hangar – which is currently the largest in the world, according to the release.
“This was an opportunity unlike any other,” said Frank Diebold, who teaches automotive classes at West Leyden High School. “For our kids to experience this is a real treat, and we are lucky to have O’Hare in Leyden’s backyard.
Diebold said in the release the teachers and schools were grateful for American Airlines’ outreach to help make the tour happen.