First-of-its-kind aviation programs teaches NYC children, teens to fly

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EAST NEW YORK -

Teens from across the city are spending their summer learning how to fly planes in the United Youth Aviators program.

The program is the first of its kind in New York.

This summer, nine students from around the city are getting a chance to earn their pilot's license at the United Youth Aviators program in East New York.

The program is spearheaded by three of New York's finest who spend their days off teaching students the ins and outs of flying.

"I began flying a couple of years ago. So when I went out to Farmingdale and I started flying, I wasn't seeing anybody that represented me, and it's something I enjoy and I picked up really quickly, and I said, ‘I have to bring this back to my community,’" says instructor Winston Faison Sr.

The students in the program range from ages 11 to 16 years old and will be able to receive their pilot's license at 17 years old after completing 40 hours of flying time.

They're learning the ropes by studying aviation every day and flying a Cessna 172 Skyhawk twice a week.

"I just wanted to learn the skill and learn the fundamentals of how the plane flies, because I was interested and I thought it was pretty cool," says student Winton Faison Jr.

Instructors say aviation programs can cost thousands of dollars, but with the help of sponsorships, the children attend the program free of cost.

"My mother didn't have the funds to send me to a program, or any program to really learn how to fly. And us starting a program where we can have these kids fly planes, is amazing at the same age that I wanted it when I was a kid," says instructor Cle Titus.

The aviation program is in its first year, and instructors say they're hoping to one day expand the program to different boroughs in the city.

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