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WESTFIELD — Lucas Imbriglio wants to be a commercial airline pilot. That sky-high dream could become a reality for the 15-year-old thanks to a Westfield aviation program.

Westfield Aviation Explorers Post and Club 1903 provides youth and young adults ages 10 to 20 to with hands-on experiences to explore aviation careers. Formed in November 2022, the post is affiliated with Boy Scouts of America as one of its Learning for Life programs.

The program combines an Explorer club and Explorer post. Youth between 10 and 14 are eligible for the club, while those 15 and older can join the post. They can enroll at any time and can stay in the Aviation Exploring program until aging out at 21.

During monthly meetings at Westfield-Barnes Regional Airport, the nine Explorers currently in the program work on a number of aviation-related activities. Among them: building and flying large-scale model aircraft, taking the controls of a flight simulator, learning how planes fly, learning Morse code and airport and airline codes as well as hearing from guest speakers such as air traffic controllers, flight instructors, military aviators, pilots and other aviation professionals.

Throughout the year, Explorers usually take monthly field trips to a variety of regional aviation-related facilities, such as airports, museums, air shows and other businesses. A major trip to visit aviation-related sites in Washington, D.C., is planned for April.

The program offers aviation career opportunities so Explorers can develop potential contacts to broaden their employment options — making it a perfect fit for Imbriglio, who lives in Westfield. He became interested in flying after watching planes from Barnes fly over his house.

“I live off the northern runway, so when planes come off that runway, I get a good view of them. They’re still low enough that sometimes I can see their full detail,” he said. “When I go to airports, I think I can be a part of that when I see the planes flying. All the massive machinery and all the complex parts that go into aircraft, is really impressive,” said Imbriglio, who is in the aviation program at Westfield Technical Academy.

With two hours of training for his pilot’s license, Imbriglio said he still needs three years of training and 500 flying hours to obtain his basic commercial pilot’s license.

“Then I have to get my other licenses, like instrument rating and nighttime and fog flying. It all starts with my first solo flight, which I can do next year when I’m 16.”

Another WTA student in the program is Mason Jacquier of Southwick.

“I love flying. I go to the Fly Lugo flight school at Barnes all the time to fly,” said the 16-year-old. “I already have a little over 40 hours flying some aircraft.”

A junior at WTA, he’s already flown solo and is working to get his airframe license through the school so he can work on wings and other non-engine parts. His plan is to go the Air Force Academy to become a fighter pilot.

“When I was younger, I went to an air show and sat in a fighter jet. That’s when I began thinking it would be pretty cool to fly one.”

Jacquier, who signed up for the Aviation Explorer program in January at its first meeting of the year, is excited about it: “It sounds like it will be an excellent program to help me build leadership skills while getting involved with people in the aviation community.”

Heather MacInnes, the program’s adviser, said Explorers have different aviation career goals and jobs that they would like to do.

“Some have shown interest in being a flight attendant, a ground controller at an airport, a commercial pilot, a forest ranger helicopter pilot and a military pilot,” she said. “We also teach life skills, citizenship, character development and leadership.”

Gina Vautour, an eighth grader at North Brookfield Junior-Senior High School, hopes to one day be a flight attendant for a major airline.

“I like the aviation aspect of the program and being involved with planes. It’s really cool — we do a lot of things and we can get community service hours, too,” said the 13-year-old.

Vautour said flight attendants work more with people than some other aviation career positions.

“I would never want to fly a plane, but I would like to be a flight attendant. You’re interacting with people, you’re on a plane and flying to different locations,” she said.

Another feature that she likes about the program is that it is led by youth. The group elects five officers — captain (president), first officer (vice president), second officer (program vice president), pursuer (treasurer) and secretary — who run the post and club.

“We get to plan the activities we’re going to do — everything from the food to transportation to where we’ll stay,” said Vautour.

Unlike Wright Flight, a 12-week aviation STEM course for junior high and middle school students named after flying pioneers Wilbur and Orville Wright and based at Barnes, the Explorer program is a year-long program.

“This is a little more in-depth about all the careers and fields in aviation,” Imbriglio said. “Wright Flight also is geared more toward the actual physics of flying, like lift and drag, air brakes and stuff like airflow.”

There is a fee of $75 to register with the program. Most activities are included in the $75 registration enrollment fee, but certain field trips or activities may require additional costs. For more information, email MacInnes at aviationexplorers1903@gmail.com.

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