TROY - Troy University officials, together with City of Troy and Mauna Loa Helicopters, today announced the establishment of a program aimed at training commercial aviators at N. Kenneth Campbell Field.
The program, that will allow students at the University to earn a minor in aviation operations with either fixed-wing or rotary-wing tracts, will begin in fall 2014.
"We are excited to bring into creation the first academic program at TROY that is designed to train pilots, although our roots in aviation - particularly military aviation - are deep," said Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr. "Southeast Alabama, with Fort Rucker, Sikorsky, Lockheed Martin and the aviation program at Enterprise-Ozark Community College, is the hub of Alabama aviation. I am proud that TROY - with this partnership - will play a role in continuing this tradition."
"Troy University is now poised to be an integral part of south Alabama's emerging 'aviation corridor' spurred by Airbus in Mobile," he said.
The minor is part of the Bachelor of Applied Science in Resource Management and Technology, housed in the Department of Chemistry and Physics. Students can opt for an associate's degree program or the four-year BAS degree.
Aviation industry estimates a need for as many as 90,000 new pilots, both fixed-wing and rotary, over the next 10 years in North America. Internationally, that number is expected to exceed 200,000 over the next 20 years. In China alone, some 77,000 commercial pilots will be needed by 2032.
In addition, the University and the Pike County Board of Education will create a dual-degree program that will be the first of its kind in the nation. In fall 2014, five high school juniors will enter the associate degree program, and two years later will graduate with a high school diploma, an associate degree and a private pilot's license.
At the University level, students enrolled in the minor in Aviation Operations may choose the Helicopter Flight-Training Emphasis or Airplane Flight-Training Emphasis where they will have the opportunity to obtain a Private Pilot Certification Licensure and a Commercial Pilot Certification Licensure or students may choose to pursue an introduction to Unmanned Aerial (Aircraft) Systems (UAS).
Announcing the creation of Troy University's first pilot training program, that includes options for student pilots to earn an associate's degree or the Bachelor of Applied Science degree, is, from left to right, N. Kenneth Campbell, Troy Mayor Jason Reeves, Chancellor Jack Hawkins Jr., Mauna Loa Helicopters President Ben Fouts, and Mauna Loa consultant Kim McCabe.