Faith Cox and Sean Gage, standout seniors at Lewisburg High School in Olive Branch, Miss., have been named the 2019 Statesman Scholars by Delta State University. The 12th-graders—and best friends—receive four-year “full ride” scholarships as a result and will enroll at Delta State in the fall. Read More
*Article reprinted from FedEx Annual Report 2018 Purple Runway
Kelly Williams Black knew as soon as she took her first flight as a teenager: she wanted to be a commercial pilot and see the world. Today she’s a FedEx first officer after earning her aviation degree and ratings at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi. FedEx and other airlines are looking for more aviators like Black because rising costs of education, growing retirements, and industry expansion are combining to create a serious pilot shortage.
To address the challenge, FedEx Express launched Purple Runway, an innovative program designed to create a new career path for pilots. We’re helping two operators of feeder aircraft recruit and retain pilots with the goal of them eventually qualifying for opportunities at FedEx.
Feeder aircraft are part of the FedEx global linehaul network in 45 countries not served by direct FedEx Express® air service. Flying feeder planes, such as the ATR 72-600F and Cessna SkyCourier C-408 aircraft we’ve agreed to purchase, will help pilots gain the flight hours required to advance their careers.
We plan to roll out a collaborative program with select colleges and universities, like Delta State, to promote aviation careers. Purple Runway will also feature student scholarships funded by FedEx. Tackling the pilot shortage will not only benefit FedEx but also the entire airline industry and traveling public.
“I wouldn’t be flying for FedEx without the training I received at Delta State,” Black says. “I was able to earn my commercial aviation degree, my ratings, and accumulate hours as a part-time flight instructor. Purple Runway will help get the word out — flying is a great career, and we need more pilots.”
Sam Barge, a freshman, aviation major and specialist for the football team, chose Delta State University strictly for the exemplary aviation program. Take a look at his life as a student-athlete.
If you missed any previous Statesmen Life segments, catch up on them below.
One Delta State University aviation student is literally soaring to new heights this spring break.
Malik Sinegal, a junior commercial aviation major and Biloxi native, is currently flying around the world in an ambassador role for Republic Airline. And joining him for the trip — the mini Fighting Okra doll available at the university bookstore.
For 16 days of fun and adventure, Sinegal will be flying aboard Republic flights as an ambassador. Fulfilling a lifelong goal, he will completely span the globe, with stops in Egypt and its pyramids, the mammoth skyscrapers of Dubai, the iconic Sydney Opera House in Australia, the busy streets of Tokyo, and more.
Sinegal is dedicating the trip to his grandmother, who had always dreamed of traveling the world before passing away in 2017.
“I thought that it would put my heart finally at rest if I did this for her,” he said.
Headquartered in Indianapolis, Republic Airline employs 5,500 talented professionals to support its operations in partnership with American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines. The company operates 950 daily departures to over 100 U.S. cities, Canada, Central America and the Caribbean.
Thanks to Sinegal’s private pilot certificate, instrument rating, RJet Cadet training, and education through Delta State’s Department of Commercial Aviation, he was a perfect fit for the ambassador position. Sinegal will serve in this capacity for about a year and a half, after which, he aims to stay with Republic as a first officer.
“My role as an ambassador is to recruit the best people for our award-winning environment — flight attendants, pilots and business majors,” said Sinegal. “At Republic, we want people who use our company’s motto to strive for excellence in their everyday lives.”
And Sinegal’s effort has already paid off for his fellow Delta State aviation peers. A couple of his classmates recently passed their cadet interviews with Republic.
“It’s always fun to come back to school and tell fellow students about the trips that I’ve been on,” Sinegal said. “Many students think that school will be for the rest of their lives, and they tend to get distracted and lazy. However, what they don’t realize is that their dream jobs are just around the corner.”
Sinegal added that he was prepared to work with Republic thanks to the quality instruction at Delta State.
“They have blessed me,” he said. “We have the best teachers and instructors. Dr. Speakes, Sam Washington, Chip Cooper, Rogel Campbell and Brett Oleis definitely need more credit for their hard work on campus.”
Dr. Julie Speakes, chair of the department, said Sinegal is a prime example of an aviation student making the most of his training.
“What an exciting opportunity Malik has to see the world and promote DSU Aviation,” said Speakes. “There are many unique prospects in the aviation sector, and our students are linked with some of the best opportunities at the university level.”
With his loyal mini Fighting Okra by his side, Sinegal continues to rack up miles in the sky, setting the foundation for a lengthy aviation career ahead of him.
“I have been blessed enough to see all of the amazing opportunities that this world is ready to offer us,” he said. “What you do today will set you in the right path for the rest of your life.”
Learn more about Delta State’s Department of Commercial Aviation at http://www.deltastate.edu/college-of-business/commercial-aviation.
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.