At Sinclair Community College (OH), the Engineering and Industrial Technologies (EIT) division has formed a partnership with Delta Connection Academy to provide the flight training segment of the school's Aviation Technology program. Delta Air Lines provides the equipment, facility, airplanes, services, and maintenance required for the planes and instructors.
The academy began operations in September, with 30 students enrolled in its first class. According to George Sehi, dean of the EIT division, students will be able to take all the ground school courses through Sinclair Community College, and then move on to take the flight component of the program at Dayton International Airport.
Students who graduate From Delta Connection Academy will receive a Federal Aviation Administration certificate to fly as well as an Associate's Degree in Aviation Technology. The partnership also puts students on a faster career track: Those who complete the program will have a guaranteed job interview with Delta Air Lines, one of its subsidiaries, or a partner such as SwissAir or Comair. The placement rate has been 98 percent, making it an attractive proposition for the students.
A Historic Connection
Often, partnerships are initiated by community colleges, but in this case, Delta Air Lines approached Sinclair. The airline has not only brought its fleet of state-of-the-art airplanes to Delta International Airport, but has also staffed Delta Connection Academy with an expert faculty.
Ohio's Miami Valley, where Sinclair is located, was the home of aviation pioneers Wilbur and Orville Wright and is now the site of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Sinclair is the only two-year school in Ohio that offers both aviation maintenance and flight-training programs in its Aviation Technology program. Currently, Sinclair is now on an intensive search for a coordinator to deal with the academy's marketing, oversee student progress, and keep FAA records on hours and performance.
Delta Connection Academy has been in operation since 1989, when its subsidiary Comair acquired Comair Aviation Academy. The name of the academy was changed to Delta Connection in 2003. Its main campus is in Sanford, Florida.
In summer 2004, 73 graduates of the academy were placed in jobs with eight airlines. The high rate of placements among academy trained pilots has made it necessary for the academy to hire a new class of flight instructors every month for the last three years. With a fleet of more than 110 aircraft, the academy has trained students from 86 different countries and has placed pilots with 26 airlines. It has produced more FAA-certified pilots than any other flight school in the world, according to its website.
Sinclair Community College is one of only four institutions that have partnered with Delta Connection Academy. Other partnerships include Jacksonville University (FL), Bridgewater State College (MA), and Broward Community College (FL). All three of these colleges have also experienced good enrollment increases.
Sehi says that a goal of the EIT is to add additional programs covering other areas as well, including aviation maintenance, air-traffic control, air-traffic dispatch, aviation management and administration, and aeronautical engineering technology. “Certainly,” he said, “having a Delta connection will enhance our capabilities, our expertise, and the scope of our services.”
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