Twenty-four Sun Lakes Aero Club members and guests attended a field trip to the Arizona State University Aviation Program at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport on January 27. The group visited specialized classrooms and saw first-hand the flight simulators and aircraft used in pilot training.
The aviation program has three parts: air traffic control, air transportation management and flight proficiency training. Students graduating from all three programs receive a B.S. degree from ASU.
It is estimated that at least 10,000 air traffic control jobs will open up in the next 10 years. Currently, over 50 percent of existing controllers are at retirement age and in some areas, like Alaska, it is 90 percent. ASU air traffic management graduates get preference in hiring by FAA but must still go through rigorous training after being hired.
The Sun Lakes Aero Club sponsors field trips and fly-in breakfasts each month between November and April. Additional information is available from Cannon Hill at 509-539-7857, Gary Vacin at 480-298-7017 or at the club’s website, www.sunlakesaeroclub.org.