NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A first-of-its-kind Brooklyn summer camp is teaching teenagers to soar.
At United Youth Aviators on Long Island, campers not only learn the ins and outs of an airplane, they actually fly one, CBS2’s Nina Kapur reports.
The camp was started by a handful of New York’s finest.
Three Bed-Stuy police officers are spending their vacation time in east New York, teaching nine teens everything they need to know about flying before hitting the skies at Republic Airport in Farmingdale.
“When I was younger, at 13, 10, 12, I always wanted to learn to fly planes, but there was nothing out there available to me. So being able to start something like this to give to the kids is amazing,” Cletodell Titus, camp director and flight instructor, said.
Titus, one of the founders of United Youth Aviators, says by teaching teens to fly, you’re showing them there are no limits to what they can accomplish.
Everyone walks away with around 12 hours of flying time in a Cessna Skyhawk, equipped with an instructor and flight insurance.
“I’m not going to lie, the first time I was a little bit nervous, but throughout time, I got a little more confidence,” 15-year-old camper Alfredo Covarrubias said.
Behind the yoke, the teens were naturals, and regardless of whether it’s their future career or not, many want to pursue their license, which would require 40 hours of flying time total.
“Sometimes it feels overwhelming, like depending on the sky, if the clouds are too scattered, there’s a lot of turbulence so you feel scared, but then sometimes it’s a smooth flight and you feel proud of yourself,” 14-year-old camper Toni Poller said.
Camp staff members say they hope to expand the program to other boroughs and make it year-round.
Kids who cannot afford to go can apply for a scholarship and attend the camp for free.
For teens who can afford to go, there is a $500 online application fee to reserve a spot. The total cost per week, including the $500 fee, is $1,350.