Most people think of piloting an aircraft when they consider an aviation career, but there are many other employment opportunities many should think about.

And the Aviation Career Day on March 2 at the St. Simons Airport is a great way for people to learn more about one of the many jobs available at airports in the region and nationwide.

Besides commercial pilot jobs, participants can learn more from aviation professionals, college and career representatives about the many jobs available at airports. Careers include aircraft maintenance, law enforcement, firefighting, avionics, airport management, air traffic control, logistics, flight attendant, luggage handling, military careers and more.

The event, which runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., will also include an opportunity for participants to try out a real flight simulator that is used to train today’s pilots.

The event targets middle and high school students, but anyone interested in an aviation career is invited.

One of the incentives for the younger participants is the chance to be a passenger in a small aircraft for a flight around the Golden Isles, said Jerry Latvala, president of the Experimental Aircraft Association.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity a lot of youth don’t talk about,” Latvala said.

The flights, offered through the Young Eagles program, are conducted with EAA pilots who volunteer their time and aircraft. Latvala estimated 10 small planes will be used for the flights.

Only youth ages 8 to 17 are eligible for the flights.

Each Young Eagles pilot is certified with the Federal Aviation Administration or Transport Canada, and the flights are conducted according to federal regulations. No acrobatic maneuvers will be performed.

Prior to takeoff, the pilot will explain to passengers how an aircraft works, show an aeronautical chart and talk about the interior of the plane, including the instrument panel.

Speakers will be meeting with the public to explain the benefits of the program about two weeks prior to the event to attract participants.

While the goal is to generate interest in aviation careers, Latvala said he realizes some youth are only interested in a free airplane ride. In some instances, it may be the first flight of a young person’s life.

“Some kids are doing this for the fun of a ride,” he said. “Others, you can tell, have a real interest in aviation.”

Organizers are urging people to sign up in advance so they can have an idea of the interest in the third-annual event. Go to and click on the links to the St. Simons Airport and events to register.

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