Dr. Stephany Schlachter, provost of Lewis University, said his school “welcomes graduates of Parkland College as they continue on their flight path to success.”
Lewis University has the oldest aviation program among universities in Illinois. It is the only aviation program in the state that has an airport on campus. The university also offers a graduate degree in Aviation and Transportation on campus and online.
Parkland College flight students will soon get a great new option for advancing their training toward commercial flying.
The Institute of Aviation at Parkland College will sign an agreement with Trans States Airlines, headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, that would accept our qualified flight students into its Aviators Program.
Parkland will sign the agreement during a ceremony at the institute this Saturday (Feb. 25) at 11 a.m. Join us for this important event.
Created last June for aspiring commercial pilots, the Trans States Airlines Aviators Program is a long-term internship for student pilots enrolled professional pilot training programs. The program identifies promising pilots early on in their flight training and begins preparing them for the Trans States Airlines flight deck while they are still in school through immersive, real-world experiences.
Students completing the program are eligible for a $10,000 tuition reimbursement as well as any recruiting bonuses offered by Trans States. These funds can be used to offset the cost of earning their certified flight instructor (CFI) designation.
This new agreement will help create certified flight instructors for Parkland’s Institute of Aviation and pilots for Trans States. We will join a selected group of aviation programs that will have this partnership, which allows our current students a pathway to commercial flying. The idea is that students complete their certified instructor training with the Institute, and then they continue to work for the Institute until Airline Transport Pilot certification minimums are met but still are very involved with Trans States.
[Wendy Evans is the aviation recruiter for the Institute of Aviation at Parkland College.]
“For years, many aviation experts have warned of an impending shortage of pilots for airlines as current pilots reach retirement age,” said Sybil Phillips, director of the Institute of Aviation. “To satisfy the demand for pilots, the major airlines often draw from regional carriers like Republic Airways, who then must redouble their efforts to find qualified pilots. The Institute of Aviation feels well-positioned to address these needs.”
Jody Scott, Republic Airways’s director of talent acquisition, said schools like Parkland have been a reliable source for well-qualified pilots. “We are pleased to enter into an extended partnership with the Institute of Aviation, where we will guarantee interviews for the college’s exceptional graduates.”
Republic Airways is a partner with American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and other major brands and employs about 6,000 aviation professionals across the country. Several Institute of Aviation alumni count among the carrier’s pilot ranks, Scott said.
“In fact, in a recent application process for a recruitment leadership role, nearly a dozen graduates from the program stepped up to put their name in the hat,” she said. “The reputation these men and women have within our company is a big reason we hope to continue hiring institute students.”
“The Institute of Aviation’s high standards of academic achievement, airmanship, and character are valued and respected by employers worldwide,” said Wendy Evans, recruiter for Parkland’s aviation institute. “This reputation and the alumni network aid in securing quality employment as graduates build time toward higher pilot certificates as they pursue careers in aviation.”
Founded more than 40 years ago as the small turboprop commuter Chautauqua Airlines in Jamestown, N.Y., Indianapolis-based Republic Airways Holdings has grown into one of the nation’s largest regional carriers, with more than $1.2 billion in annual revenue, a fleet of about 200 aircraft and approximately 1,000 scheduled daily flights to 110 cities in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean. Republic Airways Holdings owns Republic Airways and Shuttle America, collectively “the airlines.” The airlines operate fixed-fee flights under major airline partner brands, including American Eagle, Delta Connection, and United Express.
With a livery of mainly Embraer 170s and 175s, Republic Airways is the world’s largest operator of Embraer aircraft. For more information, visit www.rjet.com or follow the company on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
[Wendy Evans is the aviation recruiter for the Institute of Aviation at Parkland College.]
“Why do you want to be a pilot?” Many people ask me that question followed by whether my plane has a bathroom. No, it does not. Normally I would answer, “you know, it’s cool to fly.” And shrug. But writing this piece made me think about the real reasons why I cannot give up flying.
More Friendliness I am from Beijing, a city that has 21 million people. Everybody is in a hurry to get somewhere, and there are hardly any interpersonal relationships. Strangers never smile at strangers, and I don’t know my neighbors. The city looks heated but cold.
I always say this to people about flying: ”Think about it: If you are stuck in a 3 by 4 square-foot box for six hours, you need to be a nice person.” This is how I feel when I am at the Institute of Aviation. I don’t feel distant to anyone: the experienced check pilots, the 65-year-old student pilot, the “top-off, please” fuel guy, the Flightstar staff, or the air traffic controllers whom I have never met. There is one thing that connects us, aviation. But it is never dull because every one of us shines in his or her own way.
More Females I will emphasize one of the pronouns I just used: his or HER. Everybody knows that aviation is a tough field for women. The female representation is tiny, and I just found out that out of the 1.4 billion people in my country, there are only 142 female airline pilots.
But at the Institute of Aviation, I am proud of our female representation. We have a female chief pilot whom we all look up to. We have girls trying to be pilots at the age of 16. This is a very special feeling for me, seeing the strong women empowerment at the institute. My family, which holds the Asian conservative value most dear, believes that I should have a life that a girl “should have,” that is, get a stable salary job and be a great mother. I am completely okay with this idea, but I am going to connect that job with flying airplanes. Even with all the pressure from my family, I never thought I would give up flying. Thanks to all the examples at the Institute of Aviation, I am more determined than ever.
More Freedom to Ask
Thinking in a second language is hard; now imagine flying using a second language. I never wanted to admit that this is an obstacle because I want my instructors to treat me the same as everybody else. But sometimes, it does take an extra question. My education until the day I entered college was “do as I am told.” If my teacher told me that a hexagon is a beehive, then it could never be anything else. This might be an exaggeration, but we were afraid to ask questions.
But when it comes to training to be a safe pilot, one of the most important reminders we receive here is “never be afraid to ask your controllers.” Now, according to Bill (my instrument rating instructor), I am his “I have a question” and “I completely understand” girl.
Aviation has reshaped my entire life. I transformed from the girl who almost settled to be an accountant for the rest of her life to a proud female pilot. The University of Illinois led me to the love of my life, and Parkland College saved it.
So you want to know why I want to fly airplanes? Well… you will have to experience it yourself.
[Fran Tao, a student from China, is taking flight training at the Parkland College Institute of Aviation at the University of Illinois.]
[A former Marine and a Parkland Aviation student, Jeremy Russow takes to the air and fulfills a goal he set for himself.]
There are so many things we want to accomplish in our lifetimes, yet it seems as though many things are just too far outside of our reach.
I remember taking a family vacation to Florida as a young child and that first experience flying. I was glued to the window as we taxied and prepared for takeoff. I remember the feeling as the plane accelerated, pressing me back into my seat, and I watched people, cars, and buildings begin to shrink as we climbed higher into the sky. This moment sparked an interest in aviation.
My mom still has a paper I wrote in discussing my dreams for the future. My third-grade teacher had asked us to answer two questions: “If you could be one age and stay like that forever, what would it be, and why?” To this day, I don’t recall if I chose the age of 28 for a reason or arbitrarily, but I landed on that number because at that age I would be a pilot and could fly my family and friends all around the world.
So here I am today at 28 and, although I have yet to find the fountain of youth, I am finally making good on that goal from years past.
I find it exciting to be a part of this family at the Parkland College Institute of Aviation. Day One was all about getting to know your fellow students and staff. Of course there is paperwork to be done (would you expect anything less when it comes to the government?), but the staff makes the process very streamlined. Ground school classes are put together in a way that goes hand in hand with your lessons in the air for that week, so this definitely helps to reinforce the material as you learn it from book to practical application. The instructors and staff create a professional and fun learning environment, whether in the classroom or in the cockpit.
My first flight with Mandy (my flight instructor) was a bit surreal. We walked through the process of how to pre-flight the plane, from documents to weather to inspecting the aircraft. She took gradual steps to acclimate me to the entire process, and before you knew it, we were making our way to the runway and into the air. Even on the first flight, I got to start operating the controls. It was an awesome experience I will not soon forget.
After several months of flight and ground school, it was time for me to do my first solo. Mandy kinda sprung it on me one afternoon while practicing touch and go’s at the airport. After we landed the last time and taxied to the ramp, she asked if I wanted to solo. I was caught off guard at the thought, but extremely excited about it at the same time. We went inside, prepared my log book, and went over any questions I had before sending me off to continue practicing touch and go’s in the pattern around the airport. As I began to taxi on my own, it really hit me, “This is all on me now.” Caught between nerves and excitement I successfully landed the Piper Archer nine times on my own before having to head to my ground school class. The feeling would be best described as that first time at 16 when you take the car out on your own after getting your license. No one is there to help you if you mess up, and it is an absolute feeling of freedom, although now I am traveling in the air rather than on four wheels.
I encourage anyone who has a passion to fly and who may be looking for a place to learn, to put some serious thought into enrolling at the Parkland College Institute of Aviation. They have a professional, caring, and fun staff that will meet your needs as a student pilot. I come from a military background having served six years on active duty in the Marine Corps. There is a military veteran community there among the staff and alumni as well.
If you are a fellow service member, Parkland College can help you use your GI benefits to make your dream of flying a reality. I know growing up I could never afford the cost of flight training, but this way, whether a veteran or not, I can budget the program through the college, and they can guide me with all of the information I need. I am nearing completion of my first semester here with Parkland, and I’m looking forward to completing my first milestone, a private pilot’s license, come spring/summer 2015.