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The Aero Experience is a celebration of Midwest aviation and aerospace achievement. We invite you to join us as we explore the treasures of Midwest aviation through first-hand experiences. Our contributors take turns flying lead, and we are always looking for new destinations. Check in with The Aero Experience frequently to see where we will land today, and then go out and have your own aero experiences!

Blue skies,

Carmelo Turdo, Mark Nankivil and Fred Harl - The Aero Experience Team

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Southwestern Illinois College and Trans States Airlines Team Up to Offer Aviators Program 

By Carmelo Turdo
(SWIC graphic)
(Trans States Airlines graphic) 

Southwestern Illinois College (SWIC) hosted an information session highlighting the Aviators Program presented by Trans States Airlines Wednesday evening at the SWIC Belleville Campus.  SWIC is an affiliate school for the Trans States Airlines Aviators Program, and the college holds periodic events to brief students on the benefits of participation as they pursue their aviation degree.  SWIC offers Aviation Degrees in Pilot Training, Aviation Maintenance Technology and Aviation Management, and the placement of college graduates are an essential part of the solution to the current pilot and maintenance personnel shortage.     

Keith Mueller, SWIC's Aviation Flight Management Coordinator, opened the session with an overview of SWIC's aviation degrees and the advantages of participation in the Aviators Program.  He then introduced the staff representing various career tracks at Trans States Airlines.

The Aviators Program develops the next generation of regional airline first officers. Trans States provides a pilot mentor and a pathway to achieve the Air Transport Pilot Certificate for those who have their Private Pilot Certificate, are enrolled in a Part 141 flight school, maintain a First Class Medical Certificate and meet other qualifications.  While in the Aviators Program, students participate in airline recruiting events, receive ground school materials and are credited with financial rewards given after employment with the airline.  Those enrolled at SWIC have the advantage of achieving their aviation degree, an advantage when applying for major airline positions, at a much reduced cost.  

Captain David Cross provided some insights into the crew work cycle and what new First Officers can expect when flying the Embraer EMB-145 jet on regional routes for American Airlines and United Airlines.  The typical flight crew trip is between 1-4 days from and back to the home airport, with several flights per day.  The airline plans the itinerary and lodging.  As seniority builds, the ability to exchange routes and take extra open trips increases, along with increasing hourly pay rates and opportunities for promotion. 

The pilot and aviation maintenance personnel shortage predicted twenty-years ago has arrived, and the SWIC degree programs and the Trans States Airlines Aviators Program are good first steps toward providing a larger pipeline of candidates to meet the current and future aviation service needs.  Check the links above for details on the SWIC degree programs and the Trans States Airlines Aviators Program and forward them to anyone interested in joining the growing aviation industry.  

Special thanks to Keith Mueller, SWIC's Aviation Flight Management Coordinator, and the Trans States presenters below (L-R): David Cross, Marla Dickey, Kasia Segieda, Mariella Perez, Keith Mueller (SWIC), Cliff Simmons and John Murphy (SWIC). 

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