REEDLEY, Calif. — It is a great time to study to be a pilot.
That is what Danny Vang, an aviation maintenance technician student at Reedley College is hoping to do.
“Just being able to do things in the air is really exciting,” said Danny Vang, Reedley College Student.
To become a pilot, there are a lot of barriers including cost, countless hours and accessibility.
But Reedley College is trying to change that.
“It is a brand new program designed for brand new students who have never flown aircraft in their life,” said John Johnson, Flight Science Degree Program, Reedley College.
They are starting the flight science degree program. It takes two years and students can earn their pilot and flight instructor certificates.
Demand for becoming a pilot is extremely high because there is a worldwide pilot shortage.
Boeing says the aviation industry will need 637,000 new airline pilots worldwide between now and 2036.
That boils down to about 87 pilots a day. It is because of the industry’s growth and the lack of pilots in training right now.
That demand is what is helping Reedley recruit.
“They are gonna be able to get that entry level job as a flight instructor right out of school,” said Johnson.
The college also invested 62,000 strong work force dollars in FAA approved flight simulators.
They are configured exactly like the Fresno airport. Students will practice and be able to log their flight hours which counts towards their credits.
The students will also get to fly for the program with JB Aeronautics.
“It has been a dream of mine,” said Jim Brannan, owner of JB aeronautics.
Jim Brannan is one of the driving forces behind this program. He has a a large fleet of planes based at the Fresno Airport.
“We are going to be able to provide opportunities for the valley that no one else has had before,” said Brannan
Overall the program costs $65,000. It is the only college in the State of California that is approved to use federal financial aid for pilot training.
They are also they only community college allowing VA benefits, which will help more veterans get involved in the career.
Which makes becoming a pilot that much easier for students.
After students complete their 2 year program, they will be eligible for entry level jobs as flight instructors.
After instructing for 2-3 years they will have enough flying experience to apply for a jobs as a co- pilot on a regional airline.
The program will start up in August.