Ozarka College recently held an Aviation Day for area students. Students interested in studying aviation from Couch, Thayer and Mammoth Spring attended the event held Friday, Nov. 11 at the Thayer Airport to learn more about this program provided by the college.
During the presentation, students were introduced to the many opportunities available in the aviation field, such as the field itself, Ozarka’s specific aviation program and drone technology.
According to a press release by Ozarka College, at the end of the event, a drawing was held for a Discovery Flight around the Thayer and Mammoth Spring area. Winners of the drawing were Bobbie Wheeler from Mammoth Spring High School and Chase Powell from Thayer High School.
“This was a great event,” said James Spurlock, Director of Ozarka College — Mammoth Spring. “I am excited about expanding the awareness in our community of the many opportunities available in the aviation industry.”
Ozarka College began providing the opportunity for students to earn an Associate of Science in Professional Pilot — Aviation in the fall of 2015. In this program students, can earn the credentials for a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land (ASEL) rating from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The South Missourian News contacted Ozarka College Director of Aviation, Nick Lenczycki, to learn more about this opportunity. He explained that the aviation field is growing and there is an increase in demand for pilots. “Aviation is undergoing some dynamic changes due to a shortage of pilots,” said Lenczycki. He further explained that Boeing has projected that there is a need for more than 600,000 pilots in the next 20 years. “New technology is making aviation safer, but the need for well-trained pilots is growing. Because of the shortage of pilots, wages are going up; however management opportunities in aviation are demanding. The low margins demand skill in staying competitive,” said Lenczycki.
To prepare aviation students for the field, Lenczycki explained that Ozarka’s program, “is designed to introduce students into all facets of the industry. Our students have varied interests and goals. We work hard to help each student achieve their dreams.”
Students are required to complete two foundational courses, both labs, to become a private pilot: an ATC course and a weather course. These courses are in addition to course requirements that are needed for the general education courses required of all the two-year degrees.
While students are earning their Associate Degree they also earn their Private Pilot Certificate from the FAA. “This allows them to operate in the National Airspace System. If a student should choose to continue to the commercial level, students have several options to complete a four-year degree,” said Lenczycki.
Ozarka College has partnered with Henderson State University, so that students can further their aviation training. Students may complete the advanced training necessary with further training at HSU. To earn a Bachelor of Science in Professional Pilot a student must complete 60 additional credit hours. Lenczycki stated that students will complete their commercial certificate along with a bachelorette degree at HSU.
The program has grown since it was introduced one year ago and the school works to expand the program by reaching out to traditional and non-traditional students in the area. Lenczycki stated that to ensure the students have the best learning environment, the school has added staff and technology.
“We are working to expand our program to include Remote Pilot certification. This technology is being used in a variety of industries: realtors, agriculture, photography, energy, and law enforcement, are just some of the uses of this technology. Students will help shape the future uses of this emerging sector. We also offer instrument training to continuing education students. This is the next step most pilots take in working toward a commercial certificate,” said Lenczycki.
When asked about drone technology and what is in store for it in the future, Lenczycki replied, “Limitless. We will continue to see integration with manned aircraft and expanded use. Companies like Amazon are innovating with this technology in exciting ways. We provide students a solid foundation in aviation, so that they can be successful in ways not yet imagined. It’s an exciting time to be learning about the potential opportunities in aviation.”
If you would like more information about this program, Ozarka College or to register, contact Ozarka College at 870-625-0411 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.