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Partnership offers helicopter degree

Great Lakes Helicopter and Conestoga College in Kitchener, Ontario, will begin offering a new two-year helicopter degree program in September 2011. The partnership created Ontario’s first diploma program for aspiring helicopter pilots.

The agreement expands Conestoga College’s diploma level program in aviation general arts and science by allowing students to achieve a commercial helicopter license as well as an Ontario college diploma. Previously, students in this program were limited to fixed-wing training with Waterloo-Wellington Flight Centre.

According to Bob Carley, Conestoga executive dean of academic administration, the aviation program combines instruction in appropriate science, technical, mathematics, communications and business skills with flight and flight theory instruction. Classroom instruction will take place at Conestoga’s Doon campus in Kitchener and at Waterloo-Wellington Flight Centre at the Region of Waterloo airport. Great Lakes Helicopter will provide helicopter-specific ground instruction and flight training at its Region of Waterloo International Airport location. Its fleet includes the Robinson R22 and R44 and Bell 206B JetRanger.

“We are excited by the opportunities that come by partnering with such a highly accredited college,” said Great Lakes general manager Jo Anne Leyburne. She said that the program includes 50 hours of flight instruction on the R22 during the first year, and 55 hours on the larger R44 during the second year. The program will also include a winter survival course and night rating. However, those students looking for a turbine endorsement will have to pay for additional time on the JetRanger.

It is anticipated that the new program will attract up to 10 students in the first year, but closer to 20 students per year once the program is up and running. For more information visit the Web site.

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