BG flight program takes off PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff   
Saturday, 22 February 2014 09:28
HURON - Bowling Green State University trustees agreed Friday to lease its airport facilities to a Minnesota firm that has already started providing flight training to students.
The partnership with North Star Aviation, operating as the Bowling Green Flight Center, took off this semester. The trustees' action leases the land the airport sits on to the company.  That will allow the flight center to build a new hangar and classroom space along with providing flight instruction.
Trustees met at the Firelands campus.
University faculty will continue to provide the classroom instruction for students working toward a bachelor's of science in technology with a concentration in aviation.
"Our faculty will continue to oversee the program," said David Kielmeyer, university spokesman. "No faculty positions have been eliminated as a result of this."
The university hopes the new arrangement will give students "a better flight  experience," said Venu Dasigi, interim dean of the College of Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering.
The Bowling Green Flight Center will be able to invest more in planes and facilities. That will be essential, said Joe Frizado, who negotiated the agreement when he was interim dean of the college, as the program expands.
About 120 students are now enrolled. Frizado said he hopes that would increase to 200 as the Federal Aviation Administration requires pilots to have a bachelor's degree.
The flight training has been conducted by part-time instructors hired by the university. Most of them will be hired by North Star, Frizado said.
He said the company plans to start work on the new facilities this spring and should have them completed by the end of the year.
North Star already has a similar arrangement with the University of Minnesota Mankato.
President Mary Ellen Mazey told the trustees that this is the kind of collaboration with outside entities the university is pursuing to enhance programs while keeping costs down.  She cited the Falcon Health Center as another example.
A university news release stated that BGSU has sold its nine planes and related tools and equipment to the company.
The release quotes Dasigi saying: "BGSU will be positioned to increase enrollment at a time when the demand for pilots is on the rise."

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