Engaging youth in the aerospace and industrial trades.

Youth Mentorship Program

The mission of the Kittyhawk Academy is to encourage Michigan youth to consider skilled trades as a career and to prepare them for accredited trades school and certification.

Click on photos.

Mr. Beckwith teaches 13-year old student, Grey, how to use a sheet metal shear to create narrow strips of aluminum that will be used in a bending fixture.
Student Leland learning to deburr the edges of sheet aluminum during his project to build a toolbox.
Students Sean and Anthony working on details of the B-25 throttle quadrant.

This is accomplished by engaging persons as young as 12 years old in learning aerospace and industrial skills through a hands-on mentorship program that includes workshop skills, toolmanship, mechanical comprehension and CAD/CAM/CNC processing.

Twelve year old Nolan learning to operate an electric drill while helping Mr. Trainor build a crate for the museum.
Mr. Trainor provides a lesson is metal forming with a wooden mallet and sandbag.
The next generation of Rosie the Riveters! Our student Sarah working on B-25 bomb bay.

The Academy is hosted by an aircraft restoration workshop museum where the youth work side-by-side with skilled tradesmen, community elders and veterans. Here youth gain not only trades skills but an appreciation of and contribution to American heritage by directly participating in preserving two historic WWII aircraft.

Mr. Beckwith teaches 14-year old students, Leland and Colton, how to use the English wheel during a Kittyhawk Academy lesson in metal forming.
12 year old Bryant learns to use a socket to remove the valve cover from an R-2800 radial aircraft engine.
Our students Logan and Sarah are sorting and recording B-25 parts.

The programs is that it is offered at no cost to the students. This is made possible through grands from private foundations, corporate sponsorship, individual contributions, and merchandise sales.

Zelie is working on a lab exercise. She is one of ten students that participate in our four-week youth CAD design class that we offer twice per year.
Removing the crazed windows from the rear gunner canopy. Youth Bryant, Anthony and Logan.
Museum Director Mr. Mihalek explains sheet metal modeling in SolidWorks CAD to the students of the Kittyhawk Academy CAD Design class.

The Kittyhawk Academy, a branded program and DBA of the Warbirds of Glory Museum is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The museum/academy was established in 2013 and received its IRS nonprofit designation in 2014. It is governed by a board of four trustees and is organized in Michigan as a non-voting membership organization with 115 current members including 25 lifetime members. All youth programs are offered at no cost to the students. Our programs are funded by foundation grants, private donations, corporate sponsorships, membership dues and merchandise sales.

Patrick - Our Museum - Our Passion

Impact on the community - Mentor, Preserve, Honor

The Kittyhawk Academy began as an integral part of the Warbirds of Glory Museum concept when in 2013, Patrick Mihalek, Todd Trainor and a team of volunteers, including 15-year old Logan, recovered WWII B-25 bomber from a crash site in Alaska. Nicknamed “Sandbar Mitchell”, they brought the aircraft back to Brighton, Michigan to begin the long process of restoration to flying condition as a memorial to veterans who sacrificed for our freedoms. Youth mentoring has always been a part of the restoration of Sandbar Mitchell and soon the demand for mentoring outpaced the museum's ability to provide. In late 2017 the Kittyhawk Academy was reengineered to provide a more scalable curriculum based mentoring program.

Youth entering the program begin by working with mentors to learn basic mechanical concepts that are universal to nearly all the trades.