BGSU to partner for flight school PDF Print E-mail
Written by ALEX ASPACHER Sentinel Staff Writer   
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 11:12
A new partnership may be taking off between Bowling Green State University and a private company that would manage the flight school component of the aviation studies program.
The university would continue to handle classroom instruction, but flight lessons would be overseen by North Star Aviation, which operates a similar program with Minnesota State University Mankato.
Bill Davis, board president of the Wood County Regional Airport Authority, explained to Wood County commissioners Tuesday that some details are yet to be arranged, but he sees the partnership as a way for BGSU to reduce program expenses associated with owning and maintaining aircraft.
North Star requested discounted fuel from the airport as part of the deal, which doesn't seem to be an agreeable term.
"It looks like that may be very difficult to do," Davis said, noting that 80 percent of fuel sold at the airport is for flight instruction.
But more likely is an arrangement in which BGSU would transfer some airport land at the corner of East Poe Road and Tarragon Drive so that the company could construct new hangar and classroom space. The existing facilities further east, facing Poe Road, would be torn down and the land given back to the airport.
Davis said North Star plans to double the capacity of the flight school program to 300.
"If they do that, then it's going to be good for everybody."
At first, instruction would likely be open only to students, with private lessons potentially being opened up further down the road.
Several factors make Bowling Green an ideal location for a flight program, Davis said. It is one of only a few colleges with an airport within walking distance of campus. At Minnesota State, for example, students must travel 30 miles to an airfield.
Northwest Ohio is also a draw because, unlike schools in the Southwest, weather variations allow for training in less than ideal conditions.
Rob Riday, also a member of the airport authority board, predicted that conditions are ripe for North Star to have success in expanding the BGSU program.
"I think we're just at the beginning of a big upswing in the commercial pilot field. It's been down so long," he said.
"It's going to be a big hiring boom."

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