Hello, my name is Oreva Aki and I‘m a 15 year old rising Junior at North Gwinnett High School in Atlanta. Today I want to share with you my experiences with Delta and the ACE Academy, which is a program sponsored by the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP) designed for young adults, ages 14-18, to learn more about aviation. During this program, the attendees go on field trips to tour aviation facilities, learning more about aviation history and the career choices in aviation.
This is my second year attending the Aviation Career Education (ACE) Academy, and this year I am attending as a peer counselor, which means I work with the new students as part of their first ACE camp experience. Throughout the week we participate in activities like a tour of the Atlantic Southeast Airlines TOC tire and engine shop, Delta Training Center (we learned about flight attendant training and performed an actual simulator evacuation!), tour of the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Fire Department 33, Radar Hill, and the Air Traffic Control Tower. It was a really neat experience learning about what goes on behind the scenes at these facilities.
The Dream Flight on Wednesday (check out the pic!) was the highlight of the week for me. Every year as part of the ACE camp program Delta and OBAP sponsor a flight to an aviation facility in the US. Last year we flew to Melbourne, Fla. and this year we flew to Pensacola, Fla., where we saw the Blue Angels perform as well as toured the Naval Aviation Museum. This was an amazing and fun experience for me because I’ve always wanted to see a live show of the Blue Angels. Plus yesterday I enjoyed my second Discovery Flight. Last year the Discovery Flight was my first time flying in a piper aircraft (which is a general aviation aircraft) with an instructor, so it was thrilling to have a chance to do it again.
The ACE Academy is a tremendous experience, not just to learn about aviation but to be able to gain new skills and network. I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to be a part of this great program; it has changed the way I view my future tremendously. I’m not sure yet whether I will choose a career in aviation and become an aerospace engineer or a neonatologist, but I do know that I love aviation and aspire to get my private pilot’s license when I’m older.