MELBOURNE, FLA.—Juan Villa Navarro and Sidney Callaghan are the first to complete Florida Institute of Technology’s new advanced airline pilot flight courses. The flight courses, Jet Transition and Commercial Type Rating, are presented in conjunction with Aerostar Training Services of Orlando. In preparation, they had completed Florida Tech‘s third course, Flight Observation, in which Navarro and Callaghan observed 16 hours of simulator training to learn first-hand the teamwork required of flying as a crew.
All three new courses are aimed at junior, senior, and graduate students who plan careers with commercial airlines. Six other students have begun the new courses, which were announced in late 2011. Others begin in August, 2012.
The courses are unique: they enable students to use regular electives in their bachelor’s degree program to prepare fully for a career flying a large transport jet. Although jet transition and type rating courses are available on the open market, no other college or university offers transport type ratings as part of its academic degree. Although aeronautical universities and flight schools offer commercial multi-engine ratings in propeller airplanes, type ratings (required for all turbojets), have not been offered for academic credit. The type rating check ride is beyond the commercial certificate: it is conducted to airline transport pilot standards.
“The courses will prepare them well and provide all the ratings necessary to go directly to a major airline. This represents the gold standard in collegiate flight training,” said Ken Stackpoole, vice president for Aviation Programs and dean of the College of Aeronautics.
According to Peter Dunn, program manager, assistant professor and faculty adviser, there has been much talk in the industry about the looming, global pilot shortage. “At Florida Tech, we decided to do something about it. When you graduate from FIT you can have all of your flight training completed, not just the fundamentals,” he said.
“Recently, the U.S. Congress mandated airline pilot standards for first officers. We are responding to what the new law intends. We want to give our graduates the ability to compete for major airline jobs. Students in this track graduate as crew members, not simply as pilots. Airline recruiters understand the difference, as well as the value of a type rating,” Dunn added.
The College of Aeronautics currently offers the A320 and B 737NG type ratings, permitting students to target the airline of their choice. A summer school program is also planned, allowing students from other colleges, or graduate students to take these courses. Students with a commercial multi-engine certificate may take any or all of these courses: Flight Observation Lab, Jet Transition, and Commercial Type Rating.
Prospective students’ should contact Nick Galli, Florida Tech College of Aeronautics, (321) 674-7369, and request the FIT/Aerostar Student Information Guide, or to enroll in the summer program.