September 12, 2013
By Ian J. Twombly
As the economy has faltered over the past few years and airline jobs became hard to come by, many colleges and universities across the country cut costly aviation programs. Others saw opportunity and an impending pilot shortage and went the opposite direction, starting or expanding programs. George Mason University in Virginia, in partnership with the flight school Aviation Adventures, is the latest.
Although the program is now only a minor leading to a private pilot certificate, Aviation Adventures Owner Bob Hepp hopes to see it expand in the future. “We would like it to grow to a major with an independent program,” he said.
The minor is available in the school’s engineering program. The university conducts the ground school, and students can flight train at any of Aviation Adventures’ three locations. “They can train in a Cessna 152, Skycatcher, legacy 172, or a Diamond DA20,” he said. The lab fee pays for the airplane up to a certain hour limit that Hepp said he thinks will allow students to finish the certificate.
The partnership started because of the work of one of the school’s instructors. Conor Dancy was instructing while finishing his degree at George Mason. He was involved in an aviation club at the school, which gave the group an avenue to approach the administration about a more robust program.
George Mason’s interest is simple, Hepp says. “The provost is strongly behind it. They looked at the employment potential of student graduates.”
George Mason’s aviation minor starts this fall.
Flight Training Editor Ian J. Twombly joined AOPA in 2003 and is an instrument flight instructor.
Pilot Training and Certification
As the cold weather chills AOPA’s Headquarters in Frederick, many of us are inside generating new resources for flying clubs.
In my house, every Friday night is “Movie Night.” While the movies are rarely educational (I don’t think I learned anything from the Lego Movie), we look forward to the weekly opportunity to spend time together. Why not use the same concept for your Flying Club (with the addition of education, of course)?
The Aircraft Spotlight feature looks at an airplane type and evaluates it across six areas of particular interest to flying clubs and their members: Operating Cost, Maintenance, Insurability, Training, Cross-Country, and Fun Factor.
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