October 14, 2011
By: Laura Misjak
It was all about green and white at the new Eagle Flight Center hangar Friday afternoon at the Capital Region International Airport.
But the spirited colors had nothing to do with the Michigan State vs. Michigan rivalry game today.
Instead, they represented Eastern Michigan University’s new Eagle Flight Center at the airport, which took off when classes began Oct. 3.
Friday afternoon’s event marked the official dedication of the center.
“We are going to be soaring with the Eagles out here from now on,” said Chris Holman, chairman of the Capital Region Airport Authority.
The university and its Eagle Flight Training Center replace the Lansing Community College program that was discontinued earlier this year due to budget constraints. Plans for the new program began earlier this year with discussions between the airport authority, LCC and EMU.
“Aviation is a growth program,” said Eastern Michigan University President Susan Martin.
More than 466,000 pilots and 596,000 maintenance personnel will be needed over the next 20 years in the commercial aviation industry, Martin said, citing a Boeing market outlook study.
More than 23,000 pilots and 30,000 maintenance personnel will be needed each year, she said. Hiring in the field this year is up 40 percent over last year.
“We’re going to provide a little piece of that demand,” Martin said.
The worldwide need for pilots comes from an increase in retirements and higher demand in Asia, said Thomas Trumble, president of Eagle Flight Center.
The average national salary for a commercial pilot is $73,490, compared with a national average of $53,280 for an aircraft mechanic/service technician.
Ten students are currently enrolled in the aviation program, officials said, and most of those are former LCC aviation students.
That enrollment is expected to double by winter semester, said Eagle Flight Center’s chief flight instructor, Alex Bloye. The Lansing flight training program also is being led by a former LCC instructor.
Thomas Klotz, 23, of Grand Ledge, who previously was taught through LCC’s program and now works as a student dispatcher at the new center, is pleased with the changes.
“I like how they’ve done it. It’s very well-run,” he said.
Community learners – those folks simply interested in learning how to fly instead of earning a degree in the subject – also can be taught at the new training center.
“There was a real void in that here in Lansing,” Trumble said.
The university is leasing the 10,000-square-foot hangar on the west side of the airport property at a graduated rate that begins at about $12,000, said Robert Selig, executive director of the Capital Region Airport Authority. The hangar was built about two years ago and had been vacant until the EMU program began.
The Lansing location supplements EMU’s Eagle Flight Center program in Ypsilanti. With the Lansing center opening, the university will serve about 200 students in its flight programs.
Source: LANSING STATE JOURNAL