California Aeronautical University graduated its third class of aspiring professional pilots at Meadows Field in Bakersfield on September 18.
These graduates enjoyed a less distant version of the 2020 graduation ceremony that included a personal message from AOPA President Mark Baker delivered in a prerecorded video. For its third graduation, the school turned to another pilot who logs a lot of time on YouTube: Swayne Martin, an airline first officer who created a YouTube channel with 231,000 subscribers drawn to his detailed insights on what graduates can expect to encounter on their first airline job—beyond what most pilots typically train for.
The graduating class will likely be spending some time on that channel, because the university has established partnerships with various airlines that put graduates to work. The school’s roots date to 2012, when CAU President Matthew Johnston began planning what would become a professional flight training program that conferred its first degrees in 2019. CAU graduates have landed jobs at SkyWest Airlines, Piedmont Airlines, Envoy Air, Mesa Airlines, and other operators.
The class of 2021 received aviation degrees including Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics, Associate of Science in Aviation Studies, Bachelor of Science in Aviation Business Administration, and Master of Aviation Science, the school announced.
Lynette Darnell, senior manager of diversity, equity, inclusion, and development at Piedmont Airlines, said the carrier came to expect good things from CAU’s prior graduates.
“Our flight team is always impressed with their expertise in the flight deck and beyond,” Darnell said in the news release. “Congratulations to this class of distinguished graduates on all of your hard work.”
A video of the September 18 ceremony compiled by CAU highlights the graduates’ work, ambition, and future plans.
In addition to its purpose-built flight training facility in Bakersfield, CAU also operates flight training centers at Oxnard Airport and at Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport in San Diego, as well as a new campus location at Falcon Field Airport in Phoenix.