Whether you’re a traditional or non-traditional student, or even a veteran trying to move into the civilian workforce, there’s plenty of aviation education opportunities for you in North Central West Virginia.
Shawn Long is a Pennsylvania native who made his way to North Central West Virginia to get his education in aviation.
“I did the AMP program for Fairmont State and I also did the four year administration program,” he said.
As the North Central West Virginia Airport Operations Specialist and Station Manager for Allegiant, his duties can change by the minute.
“You can do anything from making contact with the FAA, dealing with regulations, to running a flight, to fueling aircraft,” described Long.
All of that is related to stuff he learned in school.
“In the AMP program, really the first set of classes, you learn the book work, learn about all the paperwork that goes into, and the regulations about, the maintenance and then after that, you’d go into the shop, you’d actually get into the aircraft and do the maintenance on it and do repairs,” said Long.
No matter what path a student chooses, hands-on training is a big part of all the programs.
“There are flight simulators that give you some feel for what it’s like but being able to go out and get in the aircraft, sit next to an instructor, go up and fly and do maneuvers it, really prepares them for a job and a life beyond Fairmont State,” said Dr. Donald Trisel, FSU College of Science and Technology Interim Dean.
“The certification they earn here allows them to work on everything from the smallest aircraft to the largest aircraft, including rotary wing helicopters,” explain Thomas Stose, Robert C. Byrd National Aerospace Education Center Director. “Our pilots are flying commercially, they’re flying military aircraft, they’re flying corporate aircraft and they’re flying all over the world.”
But after graduation students often have the chance to work right in this area.
“For the last three years, HQ Aero and Bombardier have come over and talked to our sophomore class and offered everyone in the class who was interested a position with the company as soon as they finish their training here. That is before they receive their Federal Aviation Administration certification so it’s a temporary position that allows them to work while they test for their FAA airframe and powerplant certificate,” said Stose.
No matter what path they choose, Stose hopes all the students, whom he refers to as his kids, remember one thing.
“The sky is the limit. You can go anywhere and do anything with the certificate you earn here.”