Aviation Academy

Dr. Aaron Smith, Program Administrator

Denbigh High School's Aviation Academy is a nationally recognized STEM site with a focus on piloting, aircraft maintenance, engineering, and aviation security/safety. Our mission is to provide a quality education that will maximize the potential of every student by providing them with the knowledge, skillsets, experiences and values needed in the 21st Century workplace.

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Aviation Academy, Denbigh High School


What is distinctive about this program?

  • Aviation magnet courses offered on an "airport campus" at Newport News/Williamsburg Airport. All other courses are conducted at Denbigh High School.

  • A small community of learning with a safe, collegiate atmosphere where expectations are high and young adults excel.

  • Aviation classes that begin in the 9th grade with four pathways: Aviation Technology, Flight Operations, Aerospace Engineering and Aviation Security & Safety.

  • An FAA Pilot Ground School course that will prepare students for flying lessons and private pilot licensure.

  • Four flight simulators used in the pilot classes.

  • A fully functioning wind tunnel capable of showing students the dynamics of flight with visual and data representation.

  • Students in the Technology pathway have the opportunity to help build an RV-12 plane.

  • Recognized as a national model school from the Society of Manufactured Engineers Education Foundation.

  • Students have access to a classroom set of drones, a virtual reality lab an d a 3D printing/scanning lab.


How does Aviation Academy prepare youth for careers?

Graduates of the Aviation Academy are prepared for a broad spectrum of opportunities beyond high school. The combination of academic rigor and modern technology prepares graduates for the challenges of college and technical careers. The Aviation Academy gives students strong problem-solving skills and a practiced work ethic.

Graduates may pursue careers such as:

  • Aerospace engineer
  • Aircraft mechanic
  • General/operations manager
  • Systems engineer
  • Electrical engineer
  • Service technician
  • Air-traffic controller
  • Software engineer
  • Aircraft engineer
  • Pilot/flight engineer
  • Electrician
  • Drone operator

Who is eligible?

All rising ninth-grade students who are prepared to commit to a rigorous academic and technological program are eligible. Freshmen must complete Algebra I, which allows them to take higher-level math classes, Chemistry and Physics. Students will be selected by lottery. Those already enrolled in the program, their siblings and those who live in the school’s shadow zone have priority.


How do I apply?

All students who wish to attend magnet programs must submit a Magnet School Application by the January deadline. Applications are available at any Newport News school, the Administration Building and on the Newport News Public Schools website at www.nnschools.org/magnet.

Once selected from the lottery, students and parents will set up an interview with Aviation Academy personnel.

Transportation is provided to all magnet program students who reside in Newport News.