The history of aviation instruction at Culver goes back to 1920, when cadets learned to fly World War I surplus floatplanes provided by the U.S. Navy. In 1970, Culver Academies was the first High School in the United States to have its own airport and operate its own fleet of training aircraft.
Enrolling in the Aviation School is for those students who have a genuine interest in learning how to fly. Just as a Midshipman's goal should be to receive US SAILING certification in Small Boats and Keelboats, an Aviation Cadet's goals should be soloing and earning a Private Pilot's Certificate.
Like all of the Upper School programs, students must be 14 or older to enroll in Aviation. However, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does impose certain age restrictions on aviation milestones that should be taken into consideration:
- FAA Written Exam – Age 15
- Solo Flight – Age 16
- Private Pilot's Certificate – Age 17
There is a maximum capacity of 50 boys in the Aviation Squadron, all of whom must enroll in a double-period of aviation training per day. The class time is either spent on campus working with the online Cessna Pilot Course curriculum or at the airport taking flight and/or flight simulator lessons. Other than occasional trips to the airport which occur during the scheduled class time or student free time, aviators have the very same Culver experience as their Naval & Troop counterparts.
There is absolutely an expectation that all Aviation Cadets will extend their training beyond the classroom. Like Midshipmen who sail and Troopers who ride, Aviation Cadets need to experience the hands-on training at the controls of an aircraft or one of Culver's FAA-certified Advanced Flight Simulators. Culver partners with JA Flight Training, an FAA-certified Part 141 Flight School, who will provide and airborne instruction.
Unlike the Naval School and the School of Horsemanship, there are additional fees for students enrolled in Aviation to cover the cost of the classroom instruction, flight simulator instruction and aircraft instruction. All aviation-associated fees will be paid directly to JA Flight Training. Please visit JA's website at culver.jaair.com for more detailed information regarding the additional fees and requirements associated with the Aviation School.
NOTE: Due to the high demand and limited capacity for flight training, students who receive approval for the Aviation School will remain in a waitlisted status until initial payment and documentation have been received by JA Flight Training.
Important: Non-U.S. citizens must receive clearance from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to be eligible for enrollment in the Aviation Squadron. Please review the procedures at this website: Guide to TSA Application. JA Flight Training will be happy to help you complete the TSA application or answer any questions that you might have.
Aviation for Girls
All Upper School girls are eligible to enroll in flight school and enjoy the exact same training and experience as the boys in Culver’s Aviation School.
Stark County Airport (KOXI)
The Aviation School has grown beyond the capacity of our very small on-campus airport. Culver now operates a hangar and classroom facility at Starke County Airport located 18 miles west of Culver in Knox, Indiana. The Starke County Airport is a terrific airport that is perfect for safe, high-tempo flight training operations, possessing full runway lighting, automated weather reporting and emergency safety equipment.
Customized Training Schedule
Many students tell us they would like more opportunities to work on their flight training. We feel strongly that our aviators have the same Culver experience, along with the same character and leadership opportunities afforded the rest of the camp. We also understand that flight training requires more time and effort to master than many of the other disciplines. We will work with individual students to maximize their time at the airport, either by assigning more than the required double-period class time (otherwise consumed by electives) or by scheduling flights and simulators during evening or weekend free time.