Agreement between ExpressJet Airlines and Eastern Michigan University will jumpstart a student's career as an airline pilot

by Debra Johnson, Published August 08, 2014


YPSILANTI - These days, it can be quite challenging for college graduates to get an interview with a prospective employer, and even harder to land a job in today’s competitive job market.

But thanks to a new partnership with ExpressJet Airlines, EMU aviation students who participate in the program can find themselves sitting in the right seat of the flight deck of a commercial jet as the first officer after graduation.

“The new AP3 pilot program will help us cultivate the next generation of highly-skilled commercial airline pilots,” said Chris Sorenson, director of operations and chief flight instructor for the Eagle Flight Centre. “And, with the looming pilot shortage, the AP3 program couldn’t have come at a better time for us. We’re very excited about our partnership with ExpressJet.”

According to Boeing's 2014 Pilot and Technician Outlook, released on July 30, worldwide demand will require 533,000 new commercial airline pilots and 584,000 new commercial airline maintenance technicians between 2014 and 2033.

The AP3 agreement was signed between EMU and ExpressJet Airlines, Inc. on July 17, 2014. The new agreement supersedes a pilot pathway program that guaranteed every EMU aviation graduate an interview with an airline.

Once accepted into AP3, students must complete the following program requirements:

  • Complete the degree program with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 and a minimum major GPA of 3.0.
  • Complete the Federal Aviation Administration Commercial Pilot Certificate with multi-engine land and instrument airplane ratings from Eastern’s Eagle Flight Centre.
  • Obtain a Certified Flight Instructor Certificate and complete the instructor standardization course.
  • Hold a First Class Medical Certificate at the start of flight training and at time of final interview with the airline.
  • Maintain an excellent work ethic and obtain letter(s) of recommendation from Eastern Michigan University and the Eagle Flight Centre’s Senior Flight Instructors.
  • Sign a Release Form authorizing the airline to review the pilot's academic, aeronautical, and other EMU and FAA records.
  • Be competitive with and meet the same standards of interview and employment required of other candidates applying for pilot positions with the airline.
  • Pass any background checks required by FAA, Department of Transportation, Department of Homeland Security, airline or any other governmental department, administration, or agency.

Students will also be mentored by ExpressJet pilots to ensure they achieve the highest levels of safety, proficiency and education to prepare them for a position as a first officer at the airline.

Justin Patrick, First Officer and Pilot Recruiting Mentor at ExpressJet Airlines

Justin Patrick, a first officer with ExpressJet Airlines and an EMU graduate, was instrumental in coordinating the partnership between EMU and ExpressJet.

“I knew ExpressJet had the pilot pathway program with other universities, so I called the pilot recruitment department and asked them how Eastern Michigan aviation could become a partner,” said Patrick. “After countless phone calls between myself, the University, the flight school and the airline, the Pathway Pilot Program was finally arranged.”

Patrick, 25, from Canton, Mich., graduated from EMU in 2011 with a bachelor’s of science in Aviation Flight Technology. ExpressJet welcomed him as a first officer in February 2012. First Officers are charged with assisting the captain with aircraft operations and flight decisions to ensure the safety of the passengers and crew. First Officers are fully qualified to fly the jet aircraft they are operating, and they typically alternate each flight segment with the captain so they both maintain and sharpen their flight skills.

“The education that a new aviation student will receive at EMU is hard to match anywhere else,” said Patrick. “Eastern’s aviation program offers newer airplanes with glass cockpit technology that will help graduates transition to smarter, more sophisticated jet aircraft later in their careers, and the program is more affordable than similar schools. As a graduate and flight instructor from EMU, I can honestly say that I was more than prepared for real-world airline flying upon graduating.”

The Eagle Flight Centre is located at Willow Run Airport, just six miles from the main campus, and offers programs in Aviation Flight Technology, Aviation Management and Dispatch Certification. The Flight Centre boasts a number of advance aircraft, including Cessna Skyhawk 172 SP’s, which are equipped with state-of-the-art Garmin G1000 glass cockpit avionics for use by its student pilots.

ExpressJet Airlines, Inc., headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, is the world’s largest regional airline, with 9,000 aviation professionals. Through capacity purchase agreements, the airline operates as American Eagle, Delta Connection and United Express, with an average of 2,200 daily flights and an all-jet fleet. The airline delivers service to more than 190 airports in the U.S., Bahamas, Canada and Mexico.  

SkyWest, Inc., the holding company for ExpressJet Airlines and SkyWest Airlines, headquartered in St. George, Utah, was named Air Transport World’s Regional Airline of the Year in 2014, the third time the airline has won this prestigious award.

For more information about the Pilot Pathway Program or a career in aviation, visit the EMU Aviation program homepage or call the EMU Eagle Flight Centre at 734-481-3000.

Debra Johnson

Make a Gift
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • youtube
  • linked in
  • Blog EMU
  • EMU app