If you’re a high school student with dreams of soaring through the skies, the University of Oklahoma (OU) School of Aviation is your gateway to an exciting career in aviation. Whether you aspire to be a pilot, air traffic controller, or an Airframe and Powerplant mechanic, OU Aviation offers a comprehensive program that equips you with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in this dynamic field.

New Piper aircraft at OU

I recently attended an event at OU School of Aviation where they introduced their new Piper airplanes used for training. These airplane have modern glass cockpits that students will see as they move into an airline flight career.

I interviewed Ben Arnold, a recent graduate of OU School of Aviation, and asked him how a high school student should prepare for career in aviation and why he chose OU School of Aviation for his career.

Ben recommends taking an introduction flight at a local airport if you interested in becoming a pilot. There are also many other aviation-related jobs that do not involve pilot training. Ben recommends taking science and physics classes to prepare for a career as a pilot.

Twotrees Technologies headquartered in the heart of General Aviation

Twotrees is headquarted in Wichita, KS, the general aviation capital of the world and home to Cessna and Beechcraft (both now owned by Textron), as well as many other aviation-related companies. Many of our friends and neighbors are involved in the aviation industry, from engineers to mechanics to pilots to sales and marketing executives.

According ot Ben and the University of Oklahoma, here are why many students choose the University of Oklahoma School of Aviation.

Why Choose OU Aviation?

  1. Top-Ranked Program: OU’s School of Aviation has been recognized as the #1 university to consider when pursuing a degree in aviation by Flying Magazine. With a legacy spanning over 75 years, OU has a rich history of flight training excellence.
  2. Experienced Faculty: OU instructors bring a combined 300 years of operational aviation and real-world experience to the classroom. They have backgrounds in airlines, corporate aviation, air traffic control, airport management, and more.
  3. Internship Opportunities: OU students can apply for aviation internships across the country. OU is connected to organizations like Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, Raytheon, and UPS, providing valuable hands-on experience.
  4. State-of-the-Art Facilities: The OU School of Aviation boasts a Simulation Center equipped with advanced Air Traffic Control and Aviation Training Devices. Students gain proficiency in weather-related decision-making and experience a wide variety of weather conditions.
  5. Small-College Atmosphere: All aviation courses are taught at the OU-owned Max Westheimer Airport, which offers class D airspace and full precision approaches. You’ll enjoy a close-knit community and personalized attention.
  6. Student Organizations: Join student organizations like the American Association of Airport Executives, Sooner Aviation Club, Sooner Air Traffic Control Association, National Intercollegiate Flying Association, Flying Sooners, and Women in Aviation.

Career Paths in Aviation

Aviation is not only about being a pilot. OU offers career tracks as Air Traffic Controllers and A&P mechanics, as well as a pilot track. You can also follow careers in aerospace engineering, weather, design, and marketing to be involved in aviation.

1. Pilot

  • OU offers a Professional Pilot concentration that prepares you for a career as a pilot. You’ll learn to fly single-engine aircraft and gain the necessary skills for private, commercial, and airline transport pilot licenses.

2. Air Traffic Controller

  • If you’re interested in air traffic control, OU’s Air Traffic Management concentration provides the foundation. You’ll learn about airspace management, communication, and safety procedures.

3. Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic

  • OU’s Aviation Management – Non-Flying concentration focuses on aircraft maintenance. You’ll learn about aircraft systems, maintenance practices, and safety regulations.

High School Preparation

To prepare for an aviation career, consider taking the following high school classes:

  1. Physics: Understand the principles of motion, forces, and energy. Physics is essential for understanding flight dynamics.
  2. Mathematics: Strong math skills are crucial. Focus on algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. Calculus is also beneficial.
  3. Science: Take courses in chemistry and biology. Understanding the scientific principles behind aviation is valuable.
  4. Computer Science: Familiarize yourself with computer systems and programming. Technology plays a significant role in aviation.
  5. English and Communication: Effective communication is vital for pilots and air traffic controllers.

Introduction Flight

Before committing to aviation, take an introductory flight at a local airport. Experience the thrill of takeoff, feel the controls, and see if flying ignites your passion. Many flight schools offer introductory flights, including American Flyers and EAA Eagle Flights.


  1. OU School of Aviation
  2. AOPA Foundation High School Aviation STEM Curriculum
  3. EAA Eagle Flights Program

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