Valparaiso University’s College of Business is looking to add an aviation program this fall. The school says the program will help prepare students for careers in aviation and airport management, and could be used as a first step for those interested in becoming commercial pilots.
The university says it will partner with Eagle Aircraft’s Flying School at Porter County on the effort. The school began research into the idea in 2010, and finalized the proposal in 2015.
Distinguished Visiting Professor Tom Cedel, who is a retired Air Force pilot, helped create the program. He says the school’s research shows "there are going to be significant shortages of qualified people within the aviation industry," including flight crews and management positions. In a release, he said, "This program will be an important way for Valparaiso University to serve our community, region and nation within the context of our mission of preparing students to lead and serve."
Valpo says 20,000 cockpit seats are expected to come open over the next six years because of Federal Aviation Administration-mandated age-65 retirements. Paired with higher passenger and freight transportation demands, the school says many airlines will need new avenues to find pilots. Valparaiso University’s program will offer a baccalaureate degree and a 20-credit minor.
The university has a history of connections with the aviation industry. Valpo was the home of a pilot training program for the Civilian Aeronautics Authority in the early 1940s and housed a flying club in the 1970s, which involved piloting, ballooning and sky diving.