Many college students struggle with the balance of going to class and having to work to pay for their education. Rather than waiting until after graduation to start making money, students in the UAA Aviation Degree & Airline Pilot Employment program can now start working while finishing their education.
On Wednesday, UAA and Ravn Air Group announced the launch of a new program that allows students to simultaneously complete their aviation degree and work as regional airline pilots.
“The uniqueness is that the pilots come to us already qualified, but they are not yet finished with their undergraduate,” Ravn Senior Vice President of Flight Operations Deke Abbott said. “So they get credit for their undergraduate degree, while at the same time earning a living as a new commercial pilot.”
The program is a win-win for Ravn and for the students, UAA Director of Aviation Technology Paul Herrick said.
“The employment component is the different element of this, which we are really excited about,” he said. “Because students do want to get out and start making money, and start advancing their career with an actual air carrier.”
UAA’s aviation maintenance, piloting and air traffic control programs have been in place for nearly three decades and have supplied the aviation workforce in Alaska, Herrick said.
By Dec. 31, 2017, of the 609,306 total piloting jobs available in the U.S, 42,694 of those were held by women, representing seven percent of the total piloting jobs in the country, according to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Annual U.S. Civil Airmen Statistics report. Additionally, in that report, the FAA totaled women working in aviation in non-piloting jobs — which includes everything from mechanics to dispatchers — to represent only 29.2 percent of the total jobs.
Girls in Aviation Day — an annual worldwide event hosted by Women in Aviation International (WAI) — is hoping to change these statistics and introduce young girls into the world of aviation early on, and help them discover the numerous career opportunities within the industry.
Both the aviation and aerospace industries have strong roots in Alaska. With a major air cargo hub, rocket launch sites, abundant airfields and airspace, and a robust aviation culture, Alaska has competitive advantages that create opportunities for both aviation and aerospace to become even more significant drivers of Alaska’s economy.
“Alaska has more airspace without entry or clearance requirements than any other state,” said Britteny Cioni-Haywood, director of the Division of Economic Development. “We also have more pilots and registered aircraft per capita than any other state and over 750 airports. Combined with our strong history of innovation related to air transportation, Alaska provides an attractive environment for entrepreneurs to test new aviation technologies.”
The report, available on the Division of Economic Development website, explores the market and economic trends associated with the aviation and aerospace sectors in Alaska, highlights individual entrepreneurs and businesses, and identifies potential strategies to support growth in the sector.
Twenty-one middle school students built, learned how to operate and took home their own small unmanned aircraft at a camp taught by pilots and engineers from the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute the week of June 11-15.
The camp, funded by the Federal Aviation Administration, uses unmanned aircraft to encourage kids to pursue science, technology, engineering and math-related education and careers.
Pilots and engineers from UAF’s Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration instructed the students through a combination of engineering, flying and interacting with simulators. The students spent the week building their own unmanned aircraft, piece by piece, and flying them. They listened to presentations from industry guest speakers and learned about topics like no-fly zones and the importance of registration.
The goal was for kids to leave with technical skills and a well-rounded knowledge of not only the UAS industry but also FAA safety rules and other requirements.