The Nova Southeastern University (NSU) has teamed up with American Flyers to provide flight training for NSU’s new Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services Administration, which concentrates on human factors in aviation. The program begins Aug. 20. Academic classes will be held online, but students can also opt to take some courses at NSU’s campus in Davie, Florida, near Fort Lauderdale. Students also have a choice of where they would like to conduct their flight training, which will be available at any of American Flyers’ locations around the United States using a combination of simulators and airplanes.
The schools made the decision to start the program “in anticipation of a worldwide pilot shortage” according to a joint press release. “Some airlines have actually grounded aircraft because of a lack of crew,” said American Flyers CEO Don Harrington.
In the meantime, long-time aviation universities such as St. Cloud and the University of Illinois have closed down their aviation departments in the past year. Both schools had been involved in aviation education for well over 60 years. Many smaller flight schools have also suffered since the financial downturn, with students having trouble finding opportunities for student loans to fund their flight training.
The regional airlines may need to increase the pay grades for budding pilots to attract more people to the industry. If they don’t, they may suffer immense pilot shortages when the major airlines begin to suck them dry as their pilots reach retirement age, as many will in the next few years. The new FAA rules regarding hourly requirements for new airline pilots that are being implemented next summer may also have an effect on flight training businesses. If pilot pay remains low and students are forced to pay for an increasing number of flight hours, schools like NSU and American Flyers may have trouble attracting career pilots to their programs.