By Kayla Carter
From student to instructor, Bob Miller is a testament to the success of an aviation and aeronautics program that landed at a new home field at the beginning of the school year – Happy Valley High School.
“I’m honored to be a part of the program in the capacity that I am now,” Miller said. “It’s rewarding to have seen it go full circle and to have been involved as a student and now come back and be able to pass that on to students.”
The classroom program Miller teaches is half of a partnership with the Watauga Eagle Squadron, which provides high school students with the opportunity to fly a plane before they graduate.
“The students who are in the class at the school have the opportunity to join the Eagle Squadron,” Miller said. “Obviously, the class is the foundation you need to be able to hop into the airplane and fly. You have to be a member of the squad to be able to fly.”
Before Miller graduated from HVHS in 2003, he was one of the first to complete the program, which began about 12 years ago.
“I was in the program in 2002,” he said. “I soloed through the program and got my pilot license the following summer.”
Miller then went on to become a copilot for U.S. Airways Express.
Having gone through the program and then becoming its instructor, Miller said he has seen many students begin the same flight path he did.
Students in Carter County’s aviation and aeronautics program haven’t limited themselves to learning to fly an airplane – they also took part in a class project to send a payload – including a video camera – aloft by a weather balloon into the Earth’s upper atmosphere.