Aviation Career & Technical Education High School

45-30 36 STREET
QUEENS NY 11101 Map
Phone: (718) 361-2032
Website: Click here
Admissions: selective
unzoned
vocational
alternative
Noteworthy
Principal: DENO CHARALAMBOUS
Neighborhood: Astoria/ LI City
District: 24
Grade range: 09 thru 12
Parent coordinator: DIVA MORILLO

What's special:

Students graduate with FAA certification; lots of hands-on work with aircraft

The downside:

Few elective courses; lopsided boy-girl ratio

The InsideStats

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Our review

At Aviation High School students earn aviation technician licenses that qualify them for well-paying jobs straight out of high school. Accredited by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), Aviation is the largest high school program of its kind in the United States. All students train for FAA certification in either airframe or power plant maintenance while taking a full academic program. Those who stay on for an optional fifth year earn both certifications and get to work on a commercial aircraft housed in the school's annex at JFK International Airport.

The school boasts partnerships with many airlines and has an active network of alumni who contribute to the school and offer jobs to graduates. All shop or "lab" teachers are licensed aviation technicians who worked in the industry. Many also attended Aviation, including Principal Deno Charalambous, who was an airplane mechanic before becoming a teacher.  Charalambous taught at Aviation for many years before becoming principal in 2009. Teachers think highly of him, based on their responses to the 2011-12 Learning Environment Survey. Overall, students give Aviation high marks on the survey, saying they get support from teachers and feel safe at school, though half report some bullying.

Girls make up only 16 percent of the student body, which Charalambous points out is higher than the percentage of women in the industry overall. Girls we met said they do not mind the gender imbalance because they get good grades and are respected by their male classmates.

The tone throughout is orderly and calm. At the start of a new period, students line up outside of the classrooms and wait for the teacher to let them in. Attendance is high and students say they take their studies very seriously, often staying up late to complete homework. All students we spoke with said that labs were their favorite classes.

Aviation labs are rigorous, hands-on and highly structured. Students handle heavy duty equipment and must keep organized and detailed logs of their work. Their diligence in labs carries over into other areas. Most students had neat handwriting and kept organized notes in their academic classes too.

Students rotate through different labs throughout the school year. Freshmen take two labs each day, sophomores take three, and juniors and seniors take four. On a typical day you can find students engaged in professional level work like constructing wings with fiberglass and resin or repairing cracks in aircraft parts with the aid of fluorescent black light. Students take apart and rebuild an entire airplane by hand in the building's airplane hangar filled with small aircrafts, some dating back to World War II.

Admission to the fifth-year program is competitive. There are only 150 spots open to students with strong academic records. In addition to industry internships, fifth-year students spend time at the JFK annex working on a Boeing 727 airplane donated by Federal Express.

In academic classes we saw a mix of teaching styles. In math and science, students tend to sit in rows facing the teacher lecturing from the front of the room. In English and history students often work in small groups on daily assignments and lengthier projects.

By their junior year, students spend half their day in labs, which leaves little time for electives. In addition to core academics, Aviation offers debate, drama, and journalism. Advanced Placement courses are offered in calculus, English, government, American and world history. Students can take College Now courses at LaGuardia Community College. Spanish is the only foreign language taught.

Special education: There are self-contained and ICT (Integrated Collaborative Teaching) classes.

After school: Aviation fields many PSAL sports teams including four for girls: basketball, volleyball as well as indoor and outdoor track. After school clubs and activities include options such as Model UN, journalism, law and moot court, robotics, student leadership, and Airborne Flying, where students learn to pilot a plane. Aviation has a very active ROTC program.

College admissions: There is a full time college counselor. Roughly one-third of graduates choose to work straight out of school or enlist in the military. Every year the school sends graduates to CUNY and SUNY schools as well as private colleges.

Admissions: Students are admitted citywide based on their middle school grades, attendance and punctuality, as well as scores on the 7th grade ELA and math state exams. (Pauline Zaldonis and Laura Zingmond, October, 2012)

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At Aviation High School students earn aviation technician licenses that qualify them for well-paying jobs straight out of high school.  Accredited by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), Aviation is the largest high school program of its kind in the United States.  All students train for FAA certification in either airframe or power plant maintenance while taking a full academic program. Those who stay on for a optional fifth year earn both certifications and get to work on a commercial aircraft housed in the school’s annex at JFK International Airport.  The school boasts partnerships with many airlines and has an active network of alumni who contribute to the school and offer jobs to graduates. Aviation is located in Long Island City near subway and bus routes.

All shop or “lab” teachers are licensed aviation technicians who worked in the industry.   Many also attended Aviation, including Principal Deno Charalambous, who was an airplane mechanic before becoming a teacher.  Charalambous taught at Aviation for many years before becoming principal in 2009.   Teachers think highly of him, based on their responses to the 2011-12 Learning Environment Survey (LES).  Overall, students give Aviation high marks on the survey, saying they get support from teachers and feel safe at school, though half report some bullying.   

Girls make up only 16 percent of the student body, which Charalambous points out is higher than the percentage of women in the industry overall.  Girls we met said they do not mind the gender imbalance because they get good grades and are respected by their male classmates.  

The tone throughout is orderly and calm. At the start of a new period, students line up outside of the classrooms and wait for the teacher to let them.  Attendance is high and students say they take their studies very seriously, often staying up late to complete homework.  All students we spoke with said that labs were their favorite classes.       

Aviation labs are rigorous, hands-on and highly structured.  Students handle heavy duty equipment and must keep organized and detailed logs of their work.  Their diligence in labs carries over into to other areas. Most students had neat handwriting and kept organized notes in their academic classes too.   

All students rotate through different labs over the school year. Freshmen take two labs each day, sophomores take three, and juniors and seniors take four.  On a typical day you can find students engaged in professional level work like constructing wings with fiberglass and resin or repairing cracks in aircraft parts with the aid of fluorescent black light. In an onsite airplane hangar filled with small aircrafts, some dating back to World War II, students take apart and rebuild an entire airplane by hand. 

Admission to the fifth-year program is competitive.  There are only 150 spots open to students with strong academic records.  In addition to internships in the industry, fifth-year students spend time at the JFK annex working on a Boeing 727 airplane donated by Federal Express. 

In academic classes we saw a mix of teaching styles. In math and science, students tend to sit in rows facing the teacher lecturing from the front of the room. In English and history students often work in small groups on daily assignments and lengthier projects. 

By their junior year, students spend half their day in labs, which leaves little time for electives.  The school offers a few including debate, drama, and journalism.   Advanced Placement courses are offered in calculus, English, government, American and world history.  Students can take College Now courses at LaGuardia Community College.  Spanish is the only foreign language taught.

Special education: There are self-contained and ICT (Integrated Collaborative Teaching) classes.

After school:  Aviation fields many PSAL sports teams including four for girls:  basketball, volleyball as well as indoor and outdoor track.  After school clubs and activities include options such as Model UN, journalism, law and moot court, robotics, student leadership, and Airborne Flying, where students learn to pilot a plane.   Aviation has a very active ROTC program.

College admissions:  There is a full time college counselor. Roughly one-third of graduates choose to work straight out of school or enlist in the military.  Every year the school sends graduates to CUNY and SUNY schools as well as private colleges.   

Admissions: Aviation is open to students citywide.  Students are admitted based on their middle school grades, attendance and punctuality, as well as scores on the 7th grade ELA and math state exams. (Pauline Zaldonis and Laura Zingmond, October, 2012)

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