April 16, 2014

EMU, Eagle Flight Centre begin flight training in the Lansing community

Pam Tobin hired as chief flight instructor; job prospects appear excellent for new pilots, maintenance personnel

by Geoff Larcom, Published October 14, 2011

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LANSING - A dramatic new opportunity for Lansing area students and community fliers has taken off at the Capital Region International Airport.

Eastern Michigan University and its aviation partner, the EMU Eagle Flight Centre, have expanded their professional flight-training program to the Lansing community and appointed an experienced flight director to lead the training program. 

The program prepares students for careers in the aviation industry and is modeled after Eastern's established program with Eagle Flight Centre, which has been operating out of Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti for five years. The Lansing program is housed in a state-of-the-art facility at the Capital Region International Airport.

"Eastern Michigan University has expanded its highly regarded professional flight program to Lansing, and the airport campus is now up and running and ready to be dedicated," said Robert Selig, executive director of the Capital Region Airport Authority. "The EMU campus will be a great asset to the airport and the Mid-Michigan region in the future."

"The Eastern Michigan University College of Technology's Aviation Flight Program is an outstanding opportunity to earn both an undergraduate degree and become a pilot at the same time," said Eastern Michigan President Susan Martin. "It is a growing and vibrant program, and we are excited for the opportunity to be able to offer this course of study for students in the Lansing area. This program is an example of how Eastern seeks to serve the students of our state with meaningful, real-world study and training that leads to jobs and a great future."

Martin spoke at a news conference and opening dedication activities the morning of October 14 at the airport.

The program offers area students the option of a four-year Bachelor of Science degree while pursuing their pilot ratings and certificates. Students will study topics such as aerodynamics, crew resource management, aviation law, aircraft systems, and other advanced aviation topics.  Professor Philip Tartalone, coordinator of the EMU Aviation Management Program, will oversee the curriculum in Lansing.

Students are currently enrolled in the Lansing program, and the number is expected to increase for the winter semester. They can complete their general education courses at Lansing Community College's main campus and apply those credits to the EMU degree. In addition, a wide variety of excellent financial aid options are available to students.

As a crucial added benefit, the Eagle Flight Centre will accommodate Lansing community residents who simply want to learn to fly. Community learners do not have to enroll at EMU or pay university tuition. They will be able to learn at their own pace, on their own schedule, and still receive the quality flight instruction provided by the Eagle Flight Centre.

Pam Tobin, an experienced commercial pilot and former journalist, leads the new Lansing flight-training component as the general manager and chief flight instructor. As a commercial pilot, Tobin has flown a wide variety of planes as both a charter and corporate pilot.  Her corporate flying has taken her throughout the United States, Mexico, Canada, and South America.

She formerly served as chief flight instructor, program director and aviation recruiter for both Baker College and Lansing Community College. She graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in journalism and worked as a reporter for newspapers and radio and as a photojournalist for the Associated Press Lansing Bureau.

EMU and Eagle Flight train students for a range of levels, from private pilot through certified flight instructor. In the primary training fleet, the flight program uses new Cessna Skyhawks, which are some of the most technically advanced training aircraft in the industry. The aircraft are equipped with glass cockpits, autopilots and on-board weather capability. Piper Seminoles are used for the multi-engine programs. Faculty and staff are professional pilots from general aviation and military backgrounds.

Eagle Flight has recently been designated a Cessna Pilot Center by Cessna Aircraft.  This will allow EMU to train students using the Cessna's exclusive integrated training system, which combines ground instruction with flight instruction using an interactive online course.  This system has proven to be a successful learning program that reduces the time and cost of completing both a private and instrument rating.

The EMU program offers a variety of distinct flight experiences, including its "Venture Learning" programs, which introduce students to real-world flight scenarios and cross-country flights during school breaks. Graduates of EMU's program have landed jobs at American Eagle Airlines, Mesaba Airlines, ExpressJet Airlines, Kalitta Air, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Air Force and numerous other operators and carriers.

The EMU Aviation Program's expansion to Lansing comes at an opportune time for students, given the predicted surge in the hiring of pilots due to the rapid growth of travel in Asia, looming retirements and an expected increased travel demand in America as the economy continues to improve.

The aviation industry has experienced more than a 40-percent increase in hiring from this time last year, according to the Aviation Search Group, a top industry search firm.

In addition, the commercial aviation industry will require 466,650 pilots and 596,500 maintenance personnel over the next 20 years to accommodate the strong demand for new and replacement aircraft, according to Boeing's Current Market Outlook, widely regarded as the most comprehensive analysis of the commercial aviation market.

Airlines will need an average of 23,300 new pilots and 30,000 new maintenance personnel per year from 2010 to 2029, according to the Boeing study.

To learn more about the EMU Aviation Flight Technology program and the Eagle Flight Centre or to register and apply, call 734-481-3000, or visit http://www.EMUAviation.com.




Geoff Larcom