Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

These Edinboro Students Use Cockpits as Classrooms Aeronautical Science Program Flying High

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

These Edinboro Students Use Cockpits as Classrooms Aeronautical Science Program Flying High

Article excerpt

EDINBORO, Pa. - Classrooms for Edinboro University of Pennsylvania student Brandon Morton include cockpits and a flight simulator.

Mr. Morton, 19, of Guys Mills, Crawford County, is one of the first students in the university's aeronautical science program launched this past fall. The two-year program includes traditional classes at Edinboro's Porreco College and flight and flight-related instruction at North Coast Flight School at Erie International Airport. Graduates will not only earn an associate degree but also the licenses and certifications required to work as a commercial pilot.

"I grew up in a family of pilots," Mr. Morton said. "My dad was a pilot for Lord Corp. My grandfather had his own grass runway strip and a couple of planes.

"There's absolutely nothing I'd rather do," he said of flying.

Nine students enrolled in the new program during fall semester. Four more joined this semester. Flight school owner and President Greg Hayes expects at least 30 students in fall 2017 and many more in subsequent years.

The attraction: a growing national demand for commercial pilots. A nationwide pilot shortage is expected to reach 15,000 available jobs by 2026, according to Bloomberg, citing a study by the University of North Dakota aviation department. Fueling the shortage: increasing numbers of pilots reaching the mandatory retirement age of 65 and fewer pilots coming into the ranks from the military.

New pilots can pick and choose from job offers, Mr. Hayes said.

"I don't know of another program where you go to college and are guaranteed a job," he said. "It's that simple. This program guarantees you not just a job but a lifetime career."

Graduates of the Edinboro-North Coast Flight School program will be qualified to work as corporate and cargo pilots or flight instructors. Those planning to work as airline pilots will require additional flight hours.

Mr. Morton plans to log those hours in the Air Force. He already has enlisted and will start serving after graduation.

"Hopefully I'll move on to fly for an airline or fly cargo," he said.

Classmate Bryan Plucknett, 19, of Springfield Township, also hopes to be an airline pilot and is considering working as a flight instructor after graduation to log more flight time. …

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