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Central Florida Aerospace Academy is a young aviator's dream on the Sun 'N Fun campus

CFAA is part of Kathleen High School
fly high pic.jpeg
Posted at 4:02 AM, Apr 15, 2021

LAKELAND, Fla. — Jackie Patton wants to be a drone pilot for the military.

"That's the future of flight," Jackie says.

Daniel Rocha doesn't want to fly planes, he wants to fix them.

"All the glory goes to the pilots at this school," Daniel says with a smile. "But there's somebody behind them doing the dirty work. And that's us, the aviation maintenance technicians."

Jackie and Daniel both attend Lakeland's Central Florida Aerospace Academy of Kathleen High School, a one-of-a-kind public school on the campus of the sprawling Sun 'N Fun Expo.

Think the X-Men Academy for future aviators.

You can imagine the wild visuals inside this school.

Drones are zipping past lockers down school hallways as freshman take the controls on flight simulators while Daniel Rocha tinkers with a wing in his maintenance class.

Many Tampa Bay area high schools feature career-focused learning opportunities, be it culinary or construction.

But the high school at Sun 'N Fun, part of the Aerospace Center for Excellence, is unlike anything nearby.

"If you love aviation, this is the place for you," says Daniel.

For more information on the Central Florida Aerospace Academy, click here.