ALLEGANY — The Dresser- Rand Challenger Learning Center is looking to get a Summer Aviation Camp off the ground — pardon the pun. 

The inaugural camp for area students entering eighth grade and up is scheduled for July 27 through 31, featuring the basics behind getting a private airplane pilot’s license, said center Director Fred Welch. 

“We’re offering that knowing that if we get them started and interested, maybe by the time they’re just out of high school or going into college some of them might be able to say they have a pilot’s license.” 

It will be available — in partnership with the Bradford (Pa.) Regional Airport and the Cattaraugus County-Olean Municipal Airport — for a base price of $279, Welch said. 

“They’ve seen a decline in the number of people who have pilot’s licenses that are using their facilities,” the director added. “It could be partly the declining population or some folks just not knowing it’s out there.” 

From Monday through Wednesday that week, campers will begin the day at the Bradford Regional Airport at 9 a.m., learning ground lessons and basic mechanic work, along with taking flight simulator training and other practice sessions. For the additional cost of $75 apiece, attendees can also take a one-hour flight — half of which can be spent in the control seat under close direction from a licensed pilot — or a ride in a World War II-era Stearman biplane. 

Carpooling will be available those days to leave at 8:30 a.m. from the Challenger Learning Center for Bradford, Welch said. 

The center is in the process of acquiring several flight simulators for additional lessons and preparations for simulation competitions that Friday. 

On Thursday that week, campers will carpool to the Buffalo Niagara International Airport for a real-world glimpse into its radar control room. 

IN OTHER NEWS, the center is also taking registration for its annual summer camp Aug. 3 to 7. 

Titled “Space Racers — 

Adventures in Space Exploration,” the camp is geared toward students entering fifth grade and up. It will cost $200 per child and $175 for additional family members. 

The activities, Welch noted, will include rockets, aviation, remote-controlled planes, reverse engineering, CO2 cars, a marble maze, team building and a full simulated space mission. The camp is limited to 30 attendees. 

Both camp sessions are sponsored by Dream It. Do It.- Western New York. 

To register for either camp, visit the center at 182 E. Union St., Allegany; email ChallengerCenterJP@gmail. com; call 379-8686 or visit

(Contact reporter Kelsey Boudin at Follow him on Twitter, @KelseyMBoudin)