Proposed Partnership Could Make Accident Investigation Real for Baylor Students

In conjunction with Waco Regional Airport and an NTSB investigator, students could soon have the opportunity to study real-life aviation accidents up close.

Baylor’s Flight school flies out of Waco Regional Airport (KACT) [Courtesy: Baylor University]

Baylor University and Waco Regional Airport (KACT) may partner soon to bring students onto the tarmac at Waco Regional Airport to investigate real-life aviation accidents. 

Joel Martinez, airport director at Waco Regional and adjunct professor at Baylor, welcomes the proposal. 

“I am excited for Baylor and Waco Airport to work together and get the students to the airfield.”

The class, “Accident and Investigation,” has been at Baylor for a few years. Adjunct professor Charles “Andy” Olvis teaches the class—he’s a senior air traffic investigator in the National Transportation Safety Board’s Office of Aviation Safety. 

But the new partnership could bring added value to the class.

A trial version of this course was conducted in 2018 with students from Baylor's Institute for Air Science. [Courtesy: Baylor University]

Olvis would acquire aircraft wreckage and recreate a real-world aircraft accident that the NTSB has investigated. Students will then analyze the accident, interview mock witnesses, and determine variables that were present that may have caused the accident. 

A trial version of the class was conducted in 2018, and since then, Baylor, Waco Regional, and the city have been working together to make it a permanent course on the airfield.

The idea has been approved by the airport and is awaiting approval by the city. 

Martinez believes the addition to the class will be a good opportunity for students to be exposed to the real nitty gritty side of aviation. 

“I really feel like [this type of program] should be at an airport. I do as much as I can to promote aviation. It’s a good opportunity for students and I hope it will bring more interested students to Waco.”

Based in Texas, Ashley is the former Marketing Manager at FLYING and focuses deeply on training and education. She graduated from the Baylor Institute for Air Science with a Bachelor's in Aviation Science and holds an MBA specializing in Marketing. She is an also instrument rated private pilot and licensed FAA dispatcher.

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