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Education Matters: Reedley Flight Program

Time:2018-05-27 20:16Turbochargers information Click:

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FRESNO COUNTY, California - According to a recent market study by Boeing, there will be a need for 637-thousand new airline pilots over the next 20 years. We're already experiencing a pilot shortage.

This fall Reedley Community College will start its new Flight Science Program. Students can earn an AA degree, preparing them for an entry level pilots position.

"There are unfilled co-pilot positions at the regional airlines and there are unfilled flight instructor positions for our graduates right out of schools," state Flight Science Program coordinator John Johnson. 

The demand for pilots is why this ribbon cutting, announcing a new flight science program at Reedley College, is worth celebrating.

"It is an associate degree program that is also approved by the veterans affairs also for returning veterans to revive their associates degree," stated president Dr. Sandra Caldwell. 

This fall, Reedley will become the only community college in the state to offer this two year program,which will allow students to use federal financial aid to help cover the cost.

Middle and high school students from 8 schools were bused in to not only participate in the ceremony but were given the opportunity to experience what flight school may be like.
They learned how to operate a flight simulator and understand what it takes to pilot a drone.

"I love the whole aspect of them showing us what we can technically do in the field, being able to view an actual engine running that was really neat, cause you don't get to see that up close," said Dinuba High student Joseph Gutierrez. 

While hearing and feeling the sheer power of a turbo shaft engine is
exciting.  John Johnson, the flight science program coordinator says he wants these students to see that Reedley's program will prepare them for an entry level pilot position.

"The way it works in the United States is that you get your commercial pilots certificate and you also get your flight instructors certificate because that's the first job you get out of school.  So you go to Reedley for 24 months and then you flight instruct for 2 years or maybe less and now you're going to have enough experience that your eligible to get hired at a regional airline in the US," he mentioned.

The lure of a two year program attracted Mary Woods, a senior at Mariposa High who was headed to San Jose State.

"I think it's awesome because if I went to San Jose it would have been 4 years and now coming here to Reedley it's two years and I can get it done and start my career faster," Woods said. 

For Mary's parents, who are excited about their daughter becoming an airline pilot, say cost was also a factor

"This program as opposed to a 4 year CSU or private aviation program the cost savings for parents are phenomenal, closer to home she can stay here.  The weather is great for flying there's just a lot of benefit," stated parent David Woods. 

The Flight Science Program is a perfect fit for Reedley College, which has had a FAA certified aircraft mechanic's program for decades.

"So the fact that Reedley College has an extremely long standing history of a quality aviation program just makes it all the more credible that we now have a brand but very credible flight training program."

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