Department of Aviation receives American Airlines grant

Dr. Gary Bouse (second from left), chief development officer for the Delta State University Foundation, and Sam Washington (center), instructor of commercial aviation at Delta State, attended a ceremony Jan. 19 in Fort Worth, Texas to receive a $25,000 grant as part of the American Airlines Pilot Recruiting and Development Program.

Delta State University’s Department of Commercial Aviation is the recent recipient of a competitive grant from the American Airlines Pilot Recruiting and Development Program.

The $25,000 grant from American Airlines will provide a major boost to the department’s facilities. Delta State was one of 10 organizations in the country to receive the grant.

“This grant will allow Delta State’s Department of Commercial Aviation to purchase equipment and software to set up two multi-station training labs that will let students practice instrument and commercial level procedures prior to entering the aircraft cockpit,” said Dr. Julie Speakes, chair of the department. “The lab will also be able to be transported to local and regional high schools to provide hands-on experience for students who may have an interest in aviation.”

The instructional lab will also help prepare students to enter actual aircraft cockpits and perform the required maneuvers and mission profiles, thus reducing the amount of time and costs to the students of obtaining initial and subsequent flight certificates.

Speakes said the funding would significantly improve learning opportunities for aviation students.

“We are proud to have been selected to receive this grant, and we are confident that these new labs will make our students’ experiences here in the Department of Commercial Aviation more meaningful and fruitful.”

An added bonus with the lab will be its mobility. The department will be able to pack up and deploy the lab at various sites such as local and regional high schools, air shows, fly-ins and other community events. This will give the department greater visibility as they advertise the unique and affordable programming at Delta State.

Dr. Gary Bouse, chief development officer for the Delta State University Foundation, helped the aviation department apply for the grant. According to Bouse, this is the first grant Delta State has received from American Airlines through the university’s Foundation.

Bouse and Sam Washington, an instructor of commercial aviation at Delta State, attended a ceremony for the grant recipients at the American Airlines C.R. Smith Museum in Fort Worth, Texas on Jan. 19.

“Of the nearly 600 organizations we invited to participate in our program, these 10 stood out with innovative ideas on growing and diversifying the pilot career path and creating opportunities for those who may not otherwise have the chance to learn,” said Captain David Tatum, American’s director of Pilot Recruiting and Development.

American Airlines, which is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. It is the world’s largest airline when measured by fleet size, revenue, scheduled passenger-kilometers flown, and number of destinations served. American, together with its regional partners, operates an extensive international and domestic network with an average of nearly 6,700 flights per day.

Delta State’s aviation department is Mississippi’s only state university to provide undergraduate and graduate degrees in commercial aviation. Graduates of the program have the necessary skills to perform in flight crews, as well as executives with supervisory and managerial responsibilities at all levels in the aviation sector.

“DSU has one of the lowest overall costs for the student as it relates to tuition, room and board, meal plans and flight costs,” said Speakes. “The Mississippi Delta has great weather for training most months of the year, and the flat land area gives students and instructors many options for executing a safe landing should an in-flight emergency arise.”

Learn more about commercial aviation at Delta State by visiting http://www.deltastate.edu/college-of-business/commercial-aviation.

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