West Windsor, NJ: Mercer County Community College (MCCC) has entered into a partnership with Royal Karina Air Service (RKAS), based at Trenton Mercer Airport, which will operate the flight training component of the college’s Aviation Flight Technology program. Students will be able to begin the associate degree program when classes resume for the fall semester on August 29.
RKAS, which has been training pilots for more than 20 years, will provide aircraft, flight instructors, facilities and other tools and materials for student use at the airport.
MCCC’s nationally accredited, Part 141 certified program trains students to become professional pilots, and is the only one of its kind in the region, drawing students from throughout New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania. According to MCCC President Patricia C. Donohue, the administration and the Board of Trustees engaged in an intensive study of the Aviation program over the past three years, exploring all ways to resolve a budget deficit while maintaining an excellent statewide program. “We are very pleased to announce this new partnership,” Donohue says. “It’s a win for students, the college, a county business, and the airport. Now our program is viable for the long term and costs will be controlled.”
County Executive Brian Hughes has been a strong proponent of the Aviation Flight Technology program. "I'm happy that this partnership will allow this unique educational program to continue,” Hughes said, “and I commend Dr. Donohue, the college administration and the Board of Trustees for working diligently to accomplish this goal." Mercer County Freeholder Pasquale Colavita, also a booster of the program, said “I am so happy that we can keep this premiere program for future students.”
Integration of MCCC’s flight training into Royal Karina’s operations will be nearly seamless for students, according to Moses Frenck, president of Royal Karina. MCCC Chief Pilot Judie Stillwagon will continue to manage student training, and RKAS plans to hire several existing MCCC flight instructors, as well as invest in a new facility at the airport. “Royal Karina Air Service has been training pilots successfully for many years,” Frenck says. “We are excited to work with MCCC to continue its mission of providing Part 141 certified flight training in our community.”
The job outlook for pilots is excellent. According to an article in the June 24, 2011 issue of Aviation Week, Boeing is predicting a shortage of qualified pilots. “Based on aircraft numbers from its commercial market outlook, the company predicts a need for 1.1 million air and ground crew by 2030. Of these, around 460,000 will be pilots and 650,000 technicians. Expressed in terms of annual recruitment, this represents training 22,000 new pilots and 22,500 technicians every year to support the industry’s predicted growth.”
MCCC’s Aviation Flight Technology program is well known nationally for its high standards and quality instruction. For many years students who participate on the Flight Team have achieved high scores at the annual National Intercollegiate Flying Association’s regional event, competing against four-year and two two-year colleges. They placed second in flying and ground events in 2010, and student Keith Stover placed third out of 47 competitors in the Top Male Contestant category. In 2009 MCCC‘s Flight Team took second place overall, and student Judy Galayda won the “Top Pilot Award.” In 2008 the Flight Team captured the regional title.
In order to complete Mercer’s Aviation Flight Technology associate degree program, students must successfully pass the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) private, commercial, and instrument computer examinations and be certified as commercial pilots with instrument rating. Admission requires a high school diploma with one year of algebra. An aviation medical exam and proof of citizenship or Transportation Security Administration approval is required for enrollment.
Most careers in aviation require a college degree. To assist graduates who wish to continue for a bachelor's degree, MCCC has transfer agreements with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (FL), Florida Institute of Technology, Metropolitan State College (CO), Thomas Edison State College (NJ), Southern Illinois University, Dowling College (NY) and Central Missouri State University.
The faculty will host an Open House Information Session for all those interested in learning more about the program, on Wednesday, August 10, at 6 p.m. in the Student Center Cafeteria. For more information about the Open House or the program, visit www.mccc.edu/aviation, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 609-570-3867.
For more information about Royal Karina Air Service visit ireallywanttofly.com, e-mail email@example.com, or call 609-883-0555.