Facebook Twitter

UVSC is in pilot’s seat with its new flight school
College reports soaring demand for aviation grads

SHARE UVSC is in pilot’s seat with its new flight school
College reports soaring demand for aviation grads

PROVO -- Utah Valley State College's aviation-science school is taking flight.

More than 300 students are enrolled in flight- and ground-training courses at the college's new hangar and training facility at the Provo Municipal Airport. From the program, students can learn to be pilots for either private charters or major commercial airlines.Business is booming in the aviation industry, say officials from the Federal Aviation Administration. It is estimated that some 14 percent of Americans use commercial airlines. That number is expected to reach 40 percent in the next decade.

Major airline co-pilots can earn $80,000 yearly to fly 80 hours a month. Some senior captains receive $250,000. There also are available positions as corporate and agricultural pilots.

Ron Smart, chairman of the aviation-science department, said nearly all students in the UVSC program are placed in a job after completing the training courses. Two- and four-year degrees, which are required by major airlines and government agencies, are offered.

"The colleges are doing well because of the military cutbacks," Smart said. "The airlines aren't being able to hire the trained military pilots because there aren't as many."

A large number of current airline pilots also are reaching retirement. Federal regulations require pilots to retire at 60 years of age. Smart said some 56 percent of TWA's pilots are scheduled to retire in the next few years. "They are going to have to start refilling the pipeline," he said.

Of the school's 30 FAA-certified flight instructors, the bulk are graduates of the two-year program and are racking up flight time as instructors as they complete a four-year degree, he said.

Interested students and the public can tour the 15,000-square-foot facility and see the latest training equipment and planes at an open house today from 3 to 5 p.m.

UVSC has three helicopters and 14 aircraft, including the state-of-the-art Katana DA-20, which is one of the safest training aircrafts. Utah State University and Salt Lake Community College also have flight-training schools.

"The open house is truly an opportunity for the community to share in the excitement of the growth in the UVSC aviation and professional pilot training program," Smart said. "Our program is FAA-approved and in the final stage of accreditation by the Council on Aviation Accreditation."

Cost for the flight training program is about $18,000, not counting tuition. Financial aid and scholarships are available. Call 764-7777 for more information.