Alaska/Horizon has CK Interns Flying High
Alaska/Horizon partnership has CK Schools Interns Flying High
Posted on 09/12/2023

Thanks to a partnership with Alaska/Horizon Air, students interested in pursuing careers in the aviation industry are able to follow their passion before they even graduate high school. 

The partnership allowed eight interns – four in flight operations and four in maintenance and engineering – to spend time at Alaska/Horizon facilities, including a trip down to Portland to spend a day at Horizon Air’s training facility. 

“It makes you feel really important,” said Kaleb, a flight operations intern and a junior at Olympic. “It gives you the inspiration you need to get into the industry.” 

Struck in 2020, the partnership encourages and allows students to explore and build skills in the aviation industry. At the time of its start, Central Kitsap was the only school district to have such a partnership with Alaska/Horizon. 

In addition to the internship, Alaska/Horizon provides guest speakers in classes, educator training, and resources, such as Jeppesen Flight Instruction books. 

What’s more, Alaska/Horizon has five allotted spots for this internship program. For the second consecutive year, they’ve taken eight interns. 

“We are very proud of that,” said Mark Anderson, Career and Technical Education Director.

Up in the sky

The flight operations interns got to soar over the Puget Sound, like you would in a commercial flight leaving from or returning to Seattle. 

Except this time, they were in the pilot’s seat. 

The four students – Clara (senior, Central Kitsap High School), Abbie (senior, Central Kitsap High School), Emma (junior, Barker Creek Community School), and Kaleb  – took to the cockpit for the first time at the Flight Safety simulators near SeaTac International Airport. 

It was each intern's first time in the pilot's seat of a commercial airplane. The simulator mimicked what takeoff and landing would feel like, including the subtle movements and necessary controls. 

“It was pretty surreal,” Clara said.  

Three photos, to the left a student in the flight simulator, middle of a student shaking hands with the flight instructor, right of a student with the instructor in the flight instructor

On the path

There are several CK Schools graduate’s footsteps to follow in aviation.

Take Dylan Michael, a 2023 Klahowya graduate, for example. Michael is participating in Alaska/Horizon’s Ascend Pilot program in Redmond, Oregon, where after four years he’ll graduate as a First Officer and with a job with Horizon Air.

Michael’s spot in the program also comes with a $26,000 tuition stipend. 

Michael credits CK Schools staff with providing him with resources, including exposure to the Cascade Warbirds Scholarship, to open doors for him. 

Future plans

All four students expressed an interest in pursuing a career in the aviation industry. The three-week internship, which exposes students to every career on the aviation spectrum, was convincing. 

“We are trying to reach all kinds of sectors that exist within such a large company as Alaska/Horizon such as airframe/powerplant mechanics, flight supports, IT, even attorneys,” said Anderson.

But after getting a turn in the flight simulator, all four of the 2023 flight operations interns expressed excitement about becoming a commercial airline pilot. 

“After this, that kind of solidified it: I want to be a pilot,” Emma said. “That was my moment.”