Leaders of the Nulton Aviation flight school are looking to build on the success of an associate’s degree program developed through Pennsylvania Highlands Community College.
Company founder Larry Nulton told the Johnstown-Cambria County Airport Authority he’s been in negotiations with St. Francis University to introduce a four-year aviation business degree that includes pilot training.
“We’ll have two collegiate programs,” Nulton said at the authority meeting. “I think we are moving along pretty well.”
Like the Penn Highlands program, a St. Francis degree would include college classes and flight training to obtain a private pilot license, said Corbin Nulton, chief operating officer.
“They take care of the education part and we take care of the flight training,” Corbin Nulton said.
The St. Francis talks are still in the early stages, Nulton said after the meeting.
In the meantime, Nulton’s group is working with area high schools to promote an interest in aviation.
“The value is getting kids introduced to aviation,” he said.
Aviation can become a career, and the Nulton partnership is aimed at promoting that, Corbin Nulton said.
“These kids could end up with (pilot) certification before they graduate,” he said. “They would be ahead of the game.”
With pilots trained by the military during the Vietnam War retiring, the airline industry faces a looming pilot shortage, Larry Nulton said.
“The goal is to fill that void – at least do our part to fill it,” Larry Nulton said.
By working through colleges, student loans and grants can be used to pay for flight training for a future career.
“It has become much more expensive than what it was in the 1970s,” Corbin Nulton said. “But it’s also safer.”
The flight school features a fleet of three single-engine Piper aircraft, but those may be replaced with an up-and-coming line of planes.
Nulton Aviation recently became an official sales representative for Diamond Aircraft.
“They are very modern and translate well for any student going into the industry,” Larry Nulton said. “It is one of the safest aircraft. It’s perfect for training.”
The flight school is also planning to add at least one, and possibly two, flight simulators. Instrument flight training is crucial in today’s world, they said.
“The old way of flying is getting phased out,” Larry Nulton said.
Since acquiring the former fixed-base operation company, MountainTop Aviation, last year, Nulton Aviation Services has added one employee and expects to continue growing, Larry Nulton said.