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Students introduced to the world of aviation with the SMR Flight Academy


With a generous endowment from The Patuxent Partnership (TPP), St. Mary’s Ryken (SMR) has installed a STEM lab flight program. The donated National Flight Academy program was funded by a grant from Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD).

The SMR Flight Academy is an interactive classroom space that provides students with the opportunity to gain experience in the field of aviation. Students use software and flight simulators to learn what it is like to be a pilot and the importance of math and science principles to flight. Students enrolled in the Scholars Program Engineering Pathway will benefit from the flight program integration in their curriculum, as will students in other studies and through club and extracurricular activities. 

President Rick Wood with members of the Patuxent Partnership in the St. Mary's Ryken Flight Academy

On Tuesday, May 3, 2022, TPP board members with SMR President Rick Wood and SMR faculty and staff, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the St. Mary’s Ryken Flight Academy. 

Salem Taylor '24 test drives the flight simulator. 

“The Flight Academy allows us to take what we learned in our Aerospace class, about how a plane moves and how its instruments function and compare it to an actual simulation of a plane flying, “said St. Mary’s Ryken engineering student Jack DeLucco. “It allows us to understand the topics better by seeing as opposed to just being told how they function.”

In his remarks, SMR President Rick Wood said, “I would like to thank Bonnie Green, Lyn Whitmer and all those involved in the vision to bring this program to St. Mary’s County. We are blessed to receive the gift of the flight simulators to connect our students to experiential learning through aviation and STEM. This will continue to bear fruit for our student body and our community in educating our young people through challenging, story-driven experiences where they can solve real-world problems in a fast-paced, immersive environment. Not only is this a perfect marriage with our Project Lead the Way Aerospace Engineering program, but in many other subject areas too. Through summer camps and after school programs, our students will have access to aviation and avionics. St. Mary’s Ryken is proud to provide these experiences to our community through generosity of The Patuxent Partnership.”

The Flight Academy will also be available for SMR Summer Knights Camps, middle school STEM activities and special programs open to the public throughout the school year.

Click here to learn more about the SMR Flight Academy.

  • Academics
  • Flight Academy
  • Scholars Program