Reedley College is creating a runway for those who want to get their pilot’s license and work in the airline industry.
This fall the community college will have a new Flight Science Program that will allow students to get behind the controls of an airplane within two years.
“The first job you get, you get a flight instructor for a year or two and get flying experience so that you can legally be a co-pilot at an airline, that takes about two years,” said Flight Science Program Coordinator John Johnson.
He says most programs at other public and private schools take up to four years, and cost of tuition is double the $65,000 charged at Reedley College. Plus, this program is the only in the state that allows students to pay with federal financial aid or VA benefits.
“That’s what makes our program so great is that people who don’t have a lot of money laying around can enter the program and get through it,” said Johnson.
Friday the community college hosted an open house for its Flight Science Center with students visiting from local elementary, middle and high schools.
“They showed me examples of jet engines and propeller engines, and then they had us use the simulators,” said Kingsburg High School Student David Reimer. “So actually we got to fly a simulator plane.”
That flight simulator shows students how to fly a plane on a computer with three screens. Students can get a virtual feel for flying around Reedley Airport or Fresno Yosemite International Airport.
Reedley College also plans to use electric planes for training, once they get approval from the F.A.A. The aircraft are funded by Measure C and are part of sustainable aviation project of the San Joaquin Valley Clean Transportation Center.
“When that happens I think that’s going to be awesome,” said Johnson. “Electric planes are the wave of the future, just like we are seeing with automobiles.”
Enrollment is now open for classes that begin in August.