Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology Blog
Alliance creates strategy to fill positions with qualified pilots (TULSA, Okla.) – Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology and American Eagle Airlines announced today the establishment of a Pilot Pipeline Program to recruit and train pilots eligible for hire upon degree and training completion.
“An alliance between Spartan College and American Eagle Airlines means a student with aspirations to serve as a pilot for a major airline is now a step closer to realizing his or her career goals,” said Peter Harris, president and CEO of Spartan College. “This partnership means Spartan can do what it does best – recruit, train, and retain pilots as a workforce pipeline for the American Eagle network and for one of our community’s largest employers – American Airlines Group.”
The Pilot Pipeline Program provides Spartan students the opportunity for employment as a commercial pilot at American Eagle Airlines. Students selected to enter the American Eagle First Officer Training Program will receive a $10,000 signing bonus for a two-year commitment and a guaranteed interview with American Airlines for future career development.
“American Eagle Airlines created the Pilot Pipeline Program to ensure we have the quality and qualified pilots we need for future operations,” said Nicolas Brice, director of pilot recruitment for American Eagle Airlines. “This is an important initiative for our company that also helps program participants gain the experience they need to start career as commercial airline pilot while easing the financial burden of doing so.”
“Spartan College has a long and storied history and has certainly been a significant contributor in Tulsa’s rise in the aerospace industry,” said Mayor Dewey Bartlett. “Spartan College has been training pilots in Tulsa since 1928. In fact, Spartan was founded just one year after Tulsa’s own William G. Skelly persuaded Charles Lindbergh to visit Tulsa and offered his now famous ‘stud horse note’ to investors to build our first Municipal Airport where Tulsa’s International Airport stands today.”
“Spartan College is a valuable asset for economic development,” said Justin McLaughlin, senior vice president of economic development for the Tulsa Regional Chamber. “Its top-tier reputation in pilot and technical degrees develops the type of trained workforce needed to recruit new jobs and retain businesses in Tulsa’s largest economic engine, aerospace. The partnership with American Eagle Airlines today is yet another great example of a Tulsa school stepping up to fill a gap in a workforce pipeline.”
The pilot training program at Spartan College is considered one of the most innovative programs of its kind. With a new flipped learning model students are in a practice-as-you-learn environment. This enables them to get in the air flying as quickly as their first week. In addition, the FAA has authorized Spartan’s degree graduates in flight to take the ATP with reduced flight hour minimums. As a result, Spartan College students can work as a Certified Flight instructor after only 12 months while obtaining their associate or bachelor degrees. A bachelor degree graduate will have obtained approximately 1,200 flight hours and be qualified to obtain their restricted ATP license in a total of just under three years.
“The competition for trained pilots is increasing as many of the nation’s pilots are reaching the required retirement age of 65. National airlines are beginning to backfill those positions with pilots from regional airlines,” said Harris. “Entering a pilot training program today has long-term career growth opportunities.”