The Utah Rotor Pathway Program (URPP) held its first annual fly-in on Mar. 31, 2022, at Granger High School in West Valley City, Utah. The event, which featured several helicopters and numerous industry displays, introduced students to the world of vertical flight and the many exciting job opportunities it offers.
The event welcomed several industry speakers, including pilots and mechanics, sharing their experience in and passion for the helicopter industry. Helicopters used in a wide range of operations, including air ambulance missions, utility work, firefighting, training, and charters, were flown in by several companies located throughout Utah.
“It was exciting to see so many students attend and learn more about the industry,” says Ryan DeJong, Southern Utah University assistant chief flight instructor and chair of the URPP. “Students were able to see the industry up close and learn more about how they can pursue great careers in this field.”
“The rotor-wing industry has a tremendous opportunity for growth,” says URPP Vice Chair Nick Johnson, pilot for Intermountain Life Flight. “I have truly enjoyed my career and the experiences it has afforded me. I’m thrilled to see so many students at this event, and I welcome the opportunity to share with them how they can enter this exciting world.”
“I want to thank all the companies that so generously provided their time and resources to make this event happen,” adds Cade Clark, VP of government affairs at Helicopter Association International and program secretary. “Industry support for the Pathway Program is essential. So, too, is the support from Utah leaders, and I want to thank the Utah State Legislature for its continued backing of the program; the Utah Department of Transportation’s Aeronautics Division under the leadership of Jared Esselman; and, of course, Gov. Spencer J. Cox and his team at Talent Ready Utah in the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. The leadership shown by these incredible stakeholders is remarkable. The people of Utah should be proud their state is investing today to build the workforce of tomorrow.”
The Utah Rotor Pathway Program serves as a first-in-the-nation model for education and training programs preparing high school students for STEM careers in rotary-wing aviation. We provide students with an avenue to earn college credits and learn skills specific to rotary-wing aviation while participating in technical classes and hands-on learning experiences at the secondary-school level. The program connects rotorcraft industry professionals with high schools, flight schools, and universities to offer benefits such as mentoring, internships, and job interviews upon students’ completion of their rotary-wing aviation programs. The URPP connects the next generation of helicopter pilots and mechanics with the exciting world of vertical flight.