BGSU aviation classes up in the air PDF Print E-mail
Written by JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN, Sentinel County Editor   
Wednesday, 17 April 2013 09:16
A BGSU plane sits near a hanger at the Wood County Regional Airport in Bowling Green. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
Bowling Green State University may ground its flight school role with its aviation studies program. And the program’s up in the air status has students and flight instructors worried.

The university is reportedly considering contracting with a private firm for flight training.

A meeting will be held April 24 at 7 p.m., in a hangar at the Wood County Airport, for aviation students, staff, faculty and the public to hear about the possible change for the program.

The privatization is being considered because it’s becoming cost prohibitive for the university to keep up with the expenses of its aging fleet of airplanes, according to Julie Carle, communications manager for the BGSU College of Technology.

The aviation studies program at BGSU currently has 120 students, but not all of those students are enrolled in the flight school part of the program, Carle said.

The flight school presently has five staff, and it is the expectation of the College of Technology that they remain with the program if it is privatized, Carle said.

The lack of communication about possible changes has some aviation students and staff concerned. A letter was sent to the dean of the BGSU College of Technology earlier this year from students and flight instructors asking for some answers.

“The absence of a straightforward and public statement by College of Technology leadership, explaining the motivation, objectives and logic guiding this endeavor, has led to a slew of rumors surrounding the future of the program,” the letter stated.

“These rumors are alarming,” the letter continued. “They already have begun to erode confidence in our program, both publicly and internally. If this continues to occur, it will likely have significant negative effects on our recruitment and retention efforts.”

The letter from students and flight instructors prompted Faris Malhas, dean of the BGSU College of Technology, to respond in letter.

According to Malhas, privatizing the flight school will streamline the operation, make it more efficient, and allow for expansion of the program.

A private company will be better able to maintain an expanded modern fleet and updated equipment, as well as potentially renovate the airport annex, Malhas stated in a letter to aviation students and staff.

Aviation program officials hope to double or triple enrollment in the next few years, and possibly increase the number of aviation disciplines such as safety management and aviation engineering technology, he said. Ideally, that could lead to a School of Aviation within the College of Technology, according to Malhas.

“The goal of this project is to ensure a bright future for the BGSU Aviation Studies program, to help maintain its stellar reputation and provide the best possible services, facilities and experiences,” Malhas said.

The privately operated flight classes may be in place by this fall.

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