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Lift off! First space institute students take to the skies

Posted onPosted on 14th Dec

Shelby Valentine, Lexie Johnson and Alex Vickery have become the first IASTI Newark students to pilot an aircraft in flight.

The trio were treated to a flight experience with AeroSPARX display pilot Rob Barsby as a reward for their good attendance, work ethic and attitude toward their course. They even got to fly a loop-the-loop.

IASTI Newark is the world’s first International Air and Space Training Institute, located in Newark. The institute allows students to learn from aviation industry experts and get hands-on experience as they learn the skills needed to become pilots, engineers or flight dispatchers, leading to Level 3 Diplomas in Aviation Operations or Aircraft Maintenance.

“It was amazing” said Shelby (pictured), who is studying on the engineering pathway at IASTI Newark “We didn’t do the take-off or landing but for the rest of the time we were flying ourselves!

“We all did two or three loop-the-loops. Then Rob did a few tricks, showing what he usually does for his shows using smoke. Then he shut the engine off and we glided the rest of the way.”

Alex was the first of the three students to fly the Grob aircraft. He said: “I enjoyed doing the loop-the-loops the most and when Rob took over doing his tricks and I was going upside down. It was brilliant and a real adrenaline rush.”

Lexie, who is on the pilot pathway, added: “I loved the whole thing. I’ve never done anything like this before. I’ve been in an aeroplane once before as a passenger, so this was the second time I’ve ever boarded a plane and I got to do this.”

AeroSPARX is a unique air display team, established in 2015 by Rob and fellow pilot Guy Westgate. They combine airborne pyrotechnics, aerobatics, formation flying and night flying for worldwide events.