A new program from Purdue University has launched, designed to get pilots into the workforce a year earlier.
The new three-year program was introduced this year by Purdue University’s Polytechnic Institute.
The new program is a win-win, according to officials, who note it will get more flight students trained and in the air a year sooner. It also is expected to save students $20,000 to $30,000 in tuition and living expenses.
“There is a global shortage of pilots, and we are part of the solution,” said Manoj Patankar, the Raisbeck Engineering Professor of Aviation Technology and head of the School of Aviation and Transportation Technology (SATT).
This is the first year for the new program, with new flight students starting their studies in the summer. They will complete the traditional four-year program in three years, according to officials.
New simulator technology is a key factor in the new program.
Purdue’s Hawker 900XP full-flight simulator, which uses the latest technology, began operation in September. The simulator is qualified at the highest level by the FAA, helping students earn qualifications as a pilot or second-in-command.
The new program also utilizes summertime flying, according to Brian Dillman, associate professor in aviation and transportation technology.
“The three-year program leverages better flying weather during Indiana’s summers and improves our aircraft utilization — a win-win solution for all,” he said.
The program comes as worries continue about at shortage of pilots in the aviation industry. Pilot numbers have dropped almost 30% during the last 30 years because fewer new pilots are entering the industry, according to information from the FAA.
In addition to getting students into the job market sooner, partnerships between Purdue and the airline industry also allow students to earn specific technical proficiency for Airbus, Boeing and others before they even graduate.