New Purdue program aims to alleviate pilot shortage

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Professional flight students from Purdue Polytechnic check their controls as they fly over a fake landscape in the aviation school’s newest flight simulator. (Purdue University photo/Brian Powell)

WEST LAFAYETTE (Inside INdiana Business) — Purdue University has unveiled a Degree in 3 program intended to get flight students in the air sooner to help alleviate a global pilot shortage. The Purdue Polytechnic Institute degree also includes new simulator technology and is expected to save students $20,000 to $30,000 in tuition and expenses. 

The new program began over the summer to allow certain flight students the ability to complete the four-year program in three years. The Federal Aviation Administration reports the number of pilots has dropped nearly 30 percent during the last three decades due to a smaller amount of new pilots entering the industry. Purdue also has partnerships with the airline industry to allow students to learn specific tasks for Airbus, Boeing and others before graduation. 

“Purdue is certainly leading the pack in terms of being able to graduate students who are job-ready, allowing them to enter the job market sooner,” said Manoj Patankar, head of the School of Aviation and Transportation Technology. 

The new simulator, the Hawker 900XP, began operating in September, and uses the latest technology to put new pilots in the skies. The simulator is qualified at the highest FAA level, which allows students to earn pilot or second-in-command qualifications. More information about the Degree in 3 program can be found here

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