Club president and junior Adrian Boemanns has been part of the group for three years and has had the chance to taxi a Cessna 172 around Briscoe’s grounds.
“I joined to get more practice and learn about things like starting, take-offs, landings and traffic patterns, the basics of flight” he said. “It’s more of a hobby right now, but I enjoy it. And the club is free.”
Club classes also include learning about each part of a plane and the physics of flight. By the end of the school year, the kids who have stuck with the program get to make actual flights with Sohmer, a licensed pilot with a long-time love of being in the air.
“When I was a teenager in Savannah, I wanted to fly fighter planes, so they told me to get a math or engineering degree,” he said. “I got my private license and was going to teach then become a commercial pilot, but just as I finished my training, they changed the minimum number of hours required. It would have taken a few more years, and by then, I’d met my wife, we’d moved to Atlanta and were expecting twins. So even though it wasn’t my plan, I kept teaching.”
Sohmer is “licensed to do everything” around a plane, but his chief objective now is sharing that love of flying with students.
“I’m introducing it to them and teaching them everything I can,” he said. “They can take it and do whatever they want; if they want to pursue a career, I tell them to do it.”
One of his biggest thrills is watching young students take the controls.
“It’s so neat when you see them doing something they’ve never done before,” he said. “Getting them in the plane – that’s really exciting.”
Information about Riverwood is online at fultonschools.org/riverwoodhs.
SEND US YOUR STORIES. Each week we look at programs, projects and successful endeavors at area schools, from pre-K to grad school. To suggest a story, contact H.M. Cauley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 770-744-3042.