First professional pilot program launched in South Carolina

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – Charleston Southern University is launching its new Commercial Aviation Pilot Program, the state’s first college aviation program, on Thursday.

CSU Aeronautics Department Chairman Col. Christopher Will said the next closest are Liberty University to the north and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to the south.

CSU’s new Professional Pilot Program is a four-year Bachelor of Science degree program. Will says the students will take flight training courses at the university, flying several times a week to meet Federal Aviation Administration requirements.

“When you see someone who’s never even been on a plane take a turn and watch you say, ‘I’m going to be a pilot,’ you know you’ve opened a door for them that wasn’t there before. They didn’t even know that door was there, ”Will says. “And then seeing them progress in their training, in their education, and do well as students, it’s absolutely wonderful, completely fulfilling and validating.”

Students in the new program will be able to take a commercial route, a military route, as well as private pilot courses and learn how to train future pilots.

Will says students will be able to compete for airline jobs after graduation.

He adds that there is a shortage of domestic pilots across the world. Will says it is predicted that over 700,000 commercial pilots will be needed over the next 20 years.

Its aim is to introduce aviation to a wide range of students. The incoming class is made up of more than a third of women and 15-20% of people of color.

“Diversity, equity and inclusion are at the heart of our program from both an ethical and a business perspective. We need to open up to new people to give them the opportunity to fly, ”says Will. “Provide them with not only the opportunity to have this dream, but the means to make this dream come true.”

The program will begin with a total of 30 slots for students.

CSU is now accepting applications for fall 2022.

The CSU Aeronautics take-off on Thursday will take place from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Summerville Airport and you can RSVP in advance.

The event is free and open to the public.

Copyright 2021 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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