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Tuskegee University gets $6.7 million for new flight school

Tuskegee University campus. (Hannah Denham / [email protected]/TNS)

Tuskegee University will introduce a new flight school in the fall, allowing students to train on the field used by the Tuskegee Airmen, thanks to $6.7 million in federal funding.

“This program will create opportunities for young aviators who dream of spending their lives soaring through the skies – here and around the world,”said Charlotte P. Morris, the president of Tuskegee University, in a news release on Wednesday.

Morris credited Sen. Katie Britt with securing the funding. The senator visited the Tuskegee campus yesterday where she reviewed plans for the program and met with school officials.

The flight school will offer a bachelor’s degree in aviation science, pending approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, according to the news release.

The degree program will have two components — one that focuses on aviation sciences like aerodynamics, aircraft structures and meteorology, while the other will provide flight training, giving students the skills to earn their private and commercial pilot certificates.

The school hopes to not only continue the tradition of excellence in aviation set by the Tuskegee Airmen – the first Black flying unit in the United States military who fought in World War II and were one of the most highly decorated units in the Air Force – but to also help with the nation’s worsening pilot shortage.

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

The university said it will start the aviation program with about 25 students and expects to grow to more than 200 in the future.

“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.”


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