Island Air Explorers Program Inspires Careers In Aviation


Photo provided by Island Air.
Photo provided by Island Air.

Are you or someone you know interested in exploring a career in the airline industry? If so, Island Air’s Explorers Program is the perfect opportunity to do just that. It’s a three-month mentorship program that gives high school and college students the chance to learn about careers in the aviation industry.

For the upcoming class, which starts on February 1, 2017, enrollment has been expanded to 20 students between the ages of 14 and 20 from O‘ahu high schools and colleges. Students who attend and submit an application on orientation night will be eligible. Orientation is scheduled for Wednesday, January 18, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. at Bishop Museum, Atherton Hālau.

“Island Air is honored to play a role in preparing Hawai‘i’s youth for careers in aviation,” said David Uchiyama, president and CEO of Island Air. “We are proud to pave the way for Hawai‘i’s future aviation leaders.

“The Explorers Program would not be possible without the mentorship of Island Air’s dedicated employees. The 2017 program is being coordinated by a committee made up of employees from different departments throughout the airline,” added Uchiyama.

The program offers participants a unique, hands-on introduction to the aviation industry. Students will learn everything from how airplanes operate to customer relations management and corporate responsibility. The program is divided into 10 weekly sessions that provide information for airline-related jobs such as pilots, flight attendants, ramp operators and aircraft mechanics. It also includes visits and lectures from members of the Federal Aviation Administration, the Transportation Security Administration and Air Traffic Control.

For the second year in a row, this class of Explorers will have the opportunity to participate in the same cockpit procedures training as Island Air’s pilots. Students will get to see a visual display of taxiings, takeoffs, landings and approaches in real time. With realistic sound, air traffic control chatter, weather, and the local Hawai‘i environment, Explorers will be able to practice the checklists used during different stages of flight operation.

Island Air Explorers is the only student workforce initiative in the aviation industry on O‘ahu. It became an official Explorer Post of the Boy Scouts of America when the program graduated its first class of students in April 2009. Since its founding, 136 students have completed the course. Many have returned to Island Air for internships or full-time employment. In addition to mentorship, the top two achievers in the program will earn the Jaime Wagatsuma Award, which provides each student with a $1,000 scholarship.

The 2017 Explorers Program Committee members and the departments they represent are:

Explorers Co-Committee Chairpersons: Noa Kamawana, Airport Operations Susie Fujikawa, Commercial

Tyler Nakasone, In-Flight

Elima Pangorang, In-Flight

Explorers Co-Committee Executive Officers: Diana Higbee, Flight Operations, Pilot Summer Harrell, Commercial

Janna Frash, Commercial

Kui Kinimaka, In-Flight

For more information and an application, visit

2015 Island Air Explorers.  Image provided by Island Air.
2015 Island Air Explorers. Image provided by Island Air.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.