“It is a great partnership that will provide our students with yet another aviation career option,” says Chris Sorenson, director of operations and chief flight instructor for the Eagle Flight Centre. “Our students devote so much of their time and passion to this field, so it is great to know that there are good jobs waiting for them when they finish training.”
The Airline Pilot Pathway Program (AP3) Agreement was signed in July 2014. Prospective pilots must complete the AP3 program with a 3.0 GPA in their major and meet a number of other criteria, such as passing required background checks, obtaining letters of recommendation, and signing a release to allow ExpressJet to review the pilot-in-training’s records.
ExpressJet is a Georgia-based airline that operates as Delta Connection, American Eagle and United Express through capacity purchase agreements. It is the world’s largest regional airline with more than 9,000 employees and more than 2,200 daily flights.
Justin Patrick, who graduated from EMU in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in aviation flight technology and who served as a flight instructor at the University, began working with ExpressJet in February 2012. He was instrumental in bringing the pathway program to EMU, one of only three four-year aviation programs in Michigan.
Patrick began taking flying lessons at EMU in high school and, impressed with the flight program, grew determined to attend the University. After graduation, he felt compelled to give back. Seeing that his company had bridge programs with 20 other universities across the country, Patrick initiated the process that would extend the same opportunities to EMU’s aviation students.
“Eastern Michigan is a fantastic and exponentially growing flight school,” Patrick says. “The aviation education that students receive at EMU is hard to match anywhere else.”
The University’s Eagle Flight Centre is located only six miles from campus, at the historic Willow Run Airport. The Flight Centre utilizes a number of advanced aircrafts in the training of students, with Cessna Skyhawk 172 SPs comprising much of the fleet.
“EMU offers newer airplanes with glass cockpit technology that will help students transition to the smarter, more sophisticated jet aircraft you will find in the airline industry,” Patrick says.
EMU’s aviation students fly seven days a week, day and night, with flight lessons scheduled around students’ other responsibilities such as jobs, academics and extracurricular activities. The aviation program also offers specialized courses in business and management skills, laws and regulations, aerodynamics and crew resource management, in order to prepare students for careers as professional pilots or in aviation management.
“I was more than prepared and ready for real-world airline flying after completing my training and education at EMU,” Patrick said.
To learn more, visit emich.edu/aviation or call the Eagle Flight Centre at 734.481.3000.
Jess J. Salisbury