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FedEx, Aviation Groups Join Community Leaders In Dedicating Upgraded Aviation Center at Wooddale

November 26, 2013

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Nov. 26, 2013 — Aviation career training at Wooddale High School in Memphis reached new heights today with formal dedication of the school’s new National Flight Academy (NFA) Aviation Classroom Experience (ACE).  The dedication caps a 15-month renovation project that elevates the Wooddale program to a national level as part of the NFA’s network of ACE programs coast to coast.

Several groups instrumental in the program, including FedEx Express and the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP), joined school officials, students and local community leaders at a 1 p.m. ribbon-cutting event that marked the opening of the advanced aviation classroom.

The large room is modeled after the NFA’s facility at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Fla., and is designed to emulate an aircraft carrier.  Web-based monitors in ACE create an interactive, multi-sensory learning lab that includes individual and team flight simulation.  Programming is integrated with the NFA to provide a critical framework for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) skills.

“To every aviation student enrolled in this amazing program, your future is bright because of the world-class learning environment you are experiencing here at Wooddale,” James R. Parker, executive vice president of Air Operations for FedEx Express, said in his dedication remarks.  “Now that this program has evolved to become part of the NFA’s Aviation Classroom Experience, you have an even greater training opportunity at your fingertips in pursuit of an aviation career.”

An industry forecast that about 460,000 airline pilots will be needed worldwide over the next 20 years, in addition to more than 600,000 new aircraft maintenance technicians, validates the need for aviation professionals, Parker pointed out.

Capt. Albert Glenn, a FedEx pilot and one of several company team members instrumental in helping develop Wooddale’s aviation program, called the ACE designation a significant achievement for the high school and community.

“ACE certification with the National Flight Academy positions Wooddale among the nations’ elite high school-based aviation programs,” he said.  “It is a milestone accomplishment made possible by the dedication and collaboration of many people and organizations working together to lay the learning foundation for the next generation of aviation professionals.”

Since 1995 when Wooddale became the state’s only optional school for specialized training curricula in aviation, travel and tourism, FedEx, OBAP and other aviation organizations have helped support the aviation component of the program through funding, curriculum development and other career-based initiatives.   The other supporting groups include Women in Aviation, Tuskegee Airmen and the Memphis Blackhawks, an organization of aircraft mechanics and aircraft owners.

"Adding the new, FedEx, state-of-the-art aviation learning center to Wooddale's already stellar program, means students will now have yet another opportunity for their aviation careers  to soar to new heights," Dorsey Hopson, Shelby County Schools Superintendent, said. "We are so grateful for how FedEx has supported these efforts. This investment in our students and school is a testament to the recent successes of the program under the guidance of the aviation instructors at Wooddale High School and Principal Michael Kyle.”

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