Bishop International Airport, Flint, MI — April 18, 2019
The Genesee Intermediate School District(GISD) is offering students a chance to spread their wings and fly. In the new school year this fall, GISD students will have the opportunity to enroll in a two-year program that focuses on pilot training.
The new course is a cooperative effort between the GISD, Flint Bishop Airport, and a Howell based flight school. ABC News 12 is reporting that a coming crisis in the aviation industry is going to open tens of thousands of pilot seats because of mandatory retirement ages. This will create top-paying jobs in an industry critical to consumer demand.
GISD Associate Superintendent Steven Tunnicliff
“It’s obviously an emerging area, so its certain people focus on the pilot aspect of it, but it’s really a program around aviation,” said Genesee Intermediate Associate Superintendent, Steven Tunnicliff, Ph.D.
GISD Associate Superintendent Steven Tunnicliff says the two-year program will offer hands-on experience for students, including time in the cockpit.
“So in the first year, students would develop an understanding of the aviation industry and the jobs and careers in that industry. It would include five hours of flight. But it would prepare them for the pilot certification exam. And if students choose to take the second year of the program, they would continue on, building on that knowledge, but also take a certification program in emerging technology and that is the drone certification, ” Tunnicliff said.
Other Pilot Training Opportunities at Flint Bishop Airport
The Greater Flint Pilots Association offers a similar pilot training program called Michigan Takes Flight. The Lasco Press previously reported on MTF and their association with the family of NASCAR driver Erik Jones from Byron, Michigan.
Michigan Takes Flight is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides flight training scholarships to aspiring pilots in the Genesee County area. They award 2 scholarships, one in the name of David S. Jones, Erik’s father who passed away suddenly two years ago.
Scholarship Director Harry Hammond explains. “General aviation has taken a hit from the economy in recent years. The number of pilots is dwindling and we don’t want to see this trend continue. Aviation is a wonderful hobby and is a lucrative career path for young people. Pilots are in demand. We hope to provide qualified candidates the opportunity to begin training locally with financial assistance. Then launch them into an accredited flight academy that will complete their training.”
Learning Costs vs Career Earnings Opportunities
Learning to fly is a costly proposition. However, earnings potential for commercial pilots can often translate to 6-figure incomes in a relatively short period of time. With the aging pilot fleet, now may be the time to investigate the career opportunities available to young people interested in taking flight.