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Sen. Britt visits Tuskegee University after securing $6.7 million for flight school program

Tuskegee University is establishing a state-of-the-art flight school after U.S. Senator Katie Britt managed to secure $6.7 million in federal funding for the program.

On Wednesday, Britt (R-Montgomery) visited with college leaders and students to celebrate the new program. The Senator said the flight school will “empower generations” and continue Tuskegee’s “legacy of aviation excellence.”

“It was a pleasure to host Sen. Britt today,” said University President Dr. Charlotte P. Morris. “We look forward to starting the program this fall after our proposal to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, our accrediting body, is reviewed. This program will create opportunities for young aviators who dream of spending their lives soaring through the skies – here and around the world.”

“I think General Chappie James and Captain Alfred Anderson would both be proud.”

Gen. Daniel “Chappie” James Jr. was a fighter pilot in the United States Air Force who became the first African American to reach the rank of four-star general in the military branch. Charles Alfred Anderson Sr. was the chief flight instructor of the Tuskegee Airmen and known as the father of Black Aviation.

RELATED: Marion Military Institute receives $34M in funding, backed by Sen. Britt

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, Provost and Senior Vice President, echoed Morris’ sentiments.

“The most exciting part is the opportunity to train our students to become pilots,” said Hargrove. “In the tradition of General Chappie James and the Tuskegee Airmen, we will continue the tradition of excellence in Aviation.”

Hargrove said that the aviation program will begin with approximately 25 students and is projected to grow to over 200.

“Our Strategic Plan has specific objectives to identify academic programs in high demand for industry and for the workforce. Some estimates say there is an annual demand for about 10,000 to 15,000 pilots annually for the next decade.”

The program will offer a bachelor’s degree in Aviation Science (pilot track) with two components. The first component includes general education core and aviation science related courses in aerodynamics, aircraft structures, aircraft propulsion, performance stability and control as well as meteorology. The second component is flight training where students will be able to take the appropriate FAA certification for private and commercial pilot certificates.

The flight school and degree program are currently pending approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.

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