SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — As news reports continue to examine the airplane pilot shortage across the country, SUNY Schenectady and Schenectady County are planning to enhance the College’s Aviation Science degree program which trains aspiring pilots, through a new Flex Pod Airport Hangar at the Schenectady County Airport. Officials from the College and Schenectady County broke ground on the new hangar at the Schenectady County Airport today in front of a Piper, a plane that is flown by student pilots enrolled in the College’s Aviation Science Pilot Option.
The new building will house four hangar pods, each 56’ x 53’, two of which will be occupied by SUNY Schenectady: one for airplane storage and the other for classroom/other educational purposes. Schenectady County received a grant from the New York State Department of Transportation to build the new airplane hangar and funding for the two hangar pods SUNY Schenectady will occupy is being provided by Schenectady County.
At the Schenectady County Airport, SUNY Schenectady Aviation Science students fly Cessnas and Pipers during their flight training in Introduction to Flight, Elements of Instrument Flight, and Commercial Operations Labs through both Westfield Flight Academy and Richmor Aviation.
As he looked across the expanse of the airport, Dr. Steady Moono, President of SUNY Schenectady, explained how the new hangar will benefit students by providing a designated space at the Schenectady County Airport for airplanes and for learning.
“We are grateful to Schenectady County for investing in our Aviation students and for recognizing how extremely successful our Aviation Science program continues to be in educating those who are pursuing careers in aviation,” he said. “With the new hangar, our students and faculty will have their own space at the airport for the planes they use for flight training, as well as classroom space for courses including those in Aviation Law and Meteorology. This is a significant addition to the College’s academic facilities and we are excited about what lies ahead for our students and faculty in the Aviation Science program.”
As ground was broken on the new hangar today, crews began readying the site for construction with officials anticipating that the project will be completed by the end of October 2022.
Gary Hughes, Majority Leader for the Schenectady County Legislature, said that the County was pleased to partner with the College in order to allow the College to grow the Aviation Science program and help provide a facility that will benefit students now and in the future.
“Schenectady County is proud to continue our support of SUNY Schenectady’s Aviation Science program,” he said. “Students in the pilot-track can gain flight training experience, right here at our County Airport, that can be used toward a license. Programs like this are key to filling the local and national need for qualified pilots at a time when the industry is experiencing record shortages.”
Dr. Cheryl Renée Gooch, Vice President for Academic Affairs at SUNY Schenectady, explained that when students graduate from the College they are prepared to transfer to bachelor degree programs, and with the pilot option, students gain substantial experience in actual flight training toward a Private Pilot Certificate and Instrument Rating, a Commercial Pilot Certificate and a Flight Instructor Certificate in conjunction with their A.S. degree. She said that the new hangar strengthens the College’s presence at the Schenectady County Airport and will give students and faculty a greater sense of place there.
“Although our Aviation students are most at home in the air, the new flex pods provide a stellar new base for their ground school, a place for them to learn more theoretical elements of flight and to prepare for their written and oral exams,” she said. “It provides an educational home for them as they prepare to transfer to bachelor degree programs or to go directly into the field. Many thanks to the College, county, and state for this wonderful new facility at the Schenectady County Airport!”
The College’s Aviation Science program has been consistently successful since it began in 1997. The Flight Team has won regional competitions and gone on to compete in the National Intercollegiate Flight Association Safe-Con Flight Competition, under the guidance of longtime Professor Barbara Jones, whose vast experience in the aviation field is equally matched by the dedication she has shown to her students and the unwavering support she has provided to them. Alumni have gone on to rewarding and impressive careers in the aviation industry as flight instructors and as professional pilots for private corporate airlines, Delta Airlines, Republic Airlines, and FedEx to name just a few.
In addition to the Aviation Science Pilot Option, the College also offers an Aviation Science Non-Pilot option and an Air Traffic Control degree program with students learning hands-on in the Schenectady County Airport Control Tower.
About SUNY Schenectady
Founded in 1969, SUNY Schenectady County Community College (SUNY Schenectady) is one of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, the largest comprehensive university system in the United States. SUNY Schenectady is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Through transferable degree and certificate programs, affordable tuition, strong student support services and a personalized approach to learning, SUNY Schenectady provides students with a regionally-acclaimed education that empowers them to take the next step in their lives. SUNY Schenectady offers degree and certificate programs through the:
- School of Hotel, Culinary Arts, and Tourism
- School of Music
- Division of Business, Criminal Justice, and Law
- Division of Liberal Arts
- Division of Math, Science, Technology, and Health
SUNY Schenectady also offers an array of Workforce Development and Community Education services and non-credit courses. Learn more by visiting: www.sunysccc.edu.