Students set to soar in WDC aviation program

This relatively new program offers students a chance to earn two licenses that can help them into a future in aviation.

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Aaron Spicer, Wadena pilot, goes through his checklist of steps to take before take off at the Wadena Municipal Airport. He was joined by the Wadena-Deer Creek aviation class.
Michael Johnson / Pioneer Journal
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WADENA — Four Wadena-Deer Creek students are going where no WDC students have gone before.
Thanks to an upgrade in Brad Wollum's aviation class, Jack Koranda, Blade Ehrmantraut, Jacob Pearson and James Taggert are working towards earning their FAA drone license and private pilot licenses as they share time between the WDC high school and the Wadena Municipal Airport.
"The Aviation course has been an offering here at WDC since the 2020-2021 school year," explained aviation teacher Brad Wollum. "It originally started out as a self-paced, independent study course solely focused on the FAA Part 107 exam (commercial drone license). After learning about changes in the FAA regulations, the 2022-2023 course is not only focused on the drone licensure aspect, but also on the Private Pilot license. There's approximately 85% overlap in content of the two licenses, therefore, the objective of the course is now that students will be able to obtain two FAA licenses with one course."

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WDC teacher Brad Wollum and his aviation students Jack Koranda, Blade Ehrmantraut, Jacob Pearson and James Taggert visited the Wadena Municipal Airport for flying experience.
Michael Johnson / Pioneer Journal

Making the course all the more hands on are two local pilots Aaron Spicer and John Gravelle.
Wollum said they've been instrumental in making this course happen as they offer the use of their plane as part of the hands-on learning.
"They've not only given the students airplane rides, but also allow us to go to the airport to visually look at their plane to learn more about its instruments and components," Wollum added.
Any student is open to take the class, they just have to be at least 16 years old. Current students in the class are seniors and one junior.

Michael Johnson is the news editor for Agweek. He lives in the city of Verndale, Minn., but is bent on making it as country as he can until he returns once more to the farm living he enjoys. Also living the dream are his two children and wife.
You can reach Michael at or 218-640-2312.
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