AUGUSTA — The aviation program at University of Maine at Augusta is expanding to Brunswick Landing with plans to offer classes and housing at the former naval air station starting this fall.
There are currently about 35 to 40 students in the four-year program launched in the fall of 2013, and the university hopes to add up to another 24 students this fall, said Sheri Fraser, dean of enrollment services at UMA. Students of the program earn a bachelor of science degree in aviation and become a Federal Aviation Administration-certified pilot.
“Nationally, there is a high demand for pilots, and that is going to increase over the next few years,” she said.
The university partners with Maine Instrument Flight at the Augusta State Airport to provide the facilities, equipment and flight instructors for the flight school program.
Greg Jolda, coordinator of the aviation program, said holding instructional classes at the former Brunswick Naval Air Station – now called Brunswick Landing – will allow the program to utilize the campus’ “8,000-foot, beautiful runway.”
Classes will be held at both Augusta and Brunswick, and students will be able to take classes at both locations remotely, he said.
Students taking classes in Brunswick will be able to travel to Augusta to use the full-motion Redbird FMX flight trainer the university purchased last summer, Jolda said. The flight simulator is one of only two like it in the state.
Brunswick Landing is collaborating with Southern Maine Community College to provide on-campus housing for eight to 12 aviation students.
The university will hold an open house and information session Friday. The open house will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Maine Instrument Flight at the Augusta State Airport, and prospective students will be split off to tour the Augusta and Brunswick locations following the event.