Credit: BJ Hall

CALIFORNIA, Md. – Young adults of Southern Maryland, are you ready to take flight?

The Southern Maryland Youth in Aviation Program is a partnership between Reach Back and Lift 1, the East Coast Chapter of the Tuskegee Airman, and S Hunt Aero.

The program was designed to help young adults, ages 16-19, earn their private pilot license with the hope of getting them a job in the aviation industry.

All interested young adults are welcome to join until the class is full.

Credit: BJ Hall

“There is a great need for workforce development focused on the aviation industry locally,” BJ Hall, co-leader of the program, told “There are several maintenance shops looking to fill positions. As the airport grows, this need will grow with it. These jobs need to be filled with workers from here, and we have the opportunity to help make that happen.”

Hall, along with Tommy Herndon, Jim Alexander, and Ken Reed, started the program during the fall of 2021. This is the second year of the program.

The course includes an aviation introduction, along with exposure to the local aviation resources including the airport, the Air Museum’s simulators, the Air Control Tower, and the Test Pilot school.

Credit: BJ Hall

Currently, the program is partnered with S. Hunt Aero, Atkinson, and the UAS Test Site. The program is also working out a partnership with The Patuxent Partnership (TPP).

Hall’s favorite part of the program was pretty evident, “We get to fly! Who wouldn’t love that?”

“The excitement on some of the faces of students participating in the program after they fly with one of our pilots is priceless. They remind me of how much I’ve wanted to do this all of my life,” says Hall.

Credit: BJ Hall

Hall also stated that they are looking to one day introduce scholarships to the program.

“We need the support of the community to make this successful. Anyone willing to work with our team to build out a more complete program is welcome.”

If you’re interested in learning more about the program, you can contact BJ Hall via email at or via his cell at 240-844-2558

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