LEONARDTOWN, Md. – With a generous endowment from The Patuxent Partnership (TPP), St. Mary’s Ryken (SMR) has installed a STEM lab flight program. The donated National Flight Academy program was funded by a grant from Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD).

SMR Flight Academy is an interactive classroom space that provides students with the opportunity to gain experience in the field of aviation. Students use software and flight simulators to learn what it is like to be a pilot and the importance of math and science principles to flight. Students enrolled in the Scholars Program Engineering Pathway will benefit from the flight program integration in their curriculum, as will students in other studies and through club and extracurricular activities.

On Tuesday, May 3, 2022, TPP board members with SMR President Rick Wood and SMR faculty and staff, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the St. Mary’s Ryken Flight Academy.

“The Flight Academy allows us to take what we learned in our Aerospace class, about how a plane moves and how its instruments function and compare it to an actual simulation of a plane flying, “said St. Mary’s Ryken engineering student Jack DeLucco. “It allows us to understand the topics better by seeing as opposed to just being told how they function.”

In his remarks, SMR President Rick Wood said, “I would like to thank Bonnie Green, Lyn Whitmer and all those involved in the vision to bring this program to St. Mary’s County. We are blessed to receive the gift of the flight simulators to connect our students to experiential learning through aviation and STEM. This will continue to bear fruit for our student body and our community in educating our young people through challenging, story-driven experiences where they can solve real-world problems in a fast-paced, immersive environment. Not only is this a perfect marriage with our Project Lead the Way Aerospace Engineering program, but in many other subject areas too. Through summer camps and afterschool programs, our students will have access to aviation and avionics. St. Mary’s Ryken is proud to provide these experiences to our community through generosity of The Patuxent Partnership.”

The Flight Academy will also be available for SMR Summer Knights Camps, middle school STEM activities and special programs open to the public throughout the school year.

For more information about the SMR Flight Academy, visit www.smrhs.org/FlightAcademy.

Join the Conversation


  1. What an amazing way to introduce interested students to this spectacular world. A head start to learn some methods of improving and saving the world.

    1. Can not get a&p like that. For us normal people the tech center which serves 3 schools and home schoolers has similar program so as far as I’m aware no. But rich people rules are different so I may be wrong.

  2. So nice the rich privileged kids got this. They couldn’t do this at say…… Great Millls? Chopticon?

    1. They had this exact program at the SMCPS Tech Center. It was amazing. SMCPS chose not to implement it as it was designed and it failed miserably. All of the equipment- simulators. etc. was moved to the NAS museum

  3. Unfortunately the Tech Center does not offer aircraft maintenance program anymore. You can thank the Board of Ed for that poor decision. Again another lost opportunity for the kids in St. Mary’s County.

  4. Unfortunately the aircraft maintenance program is no longer offered at the Tech Center. You can thank St Mary’s Board of Ed for that poor decision. It is a shame that that our kids will suffer for their bad decision.

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