Students take flight at Dutchess Community College’s new aviation center
A group of Dutchess Community College students are learning what it takes to fly.
Ruben Acosta is a student of the first technician class inside Dutchess Community College’s new 30,000 square-foot aviation center.
"Being here, I already love planes. But now I’m looking at becoming a pilot in my spare time,” he says.
The hands-on training means sky's the limit for him post-program.
“Go right into the field and start working as a mechanic, either for one of the major airlines or one of the smaller companies,” he says.
Educators say that’s a goal that will surely take off.
"Can't say guaranteed a job, but there is such a need in the industry that, to put in a year of time to get that credential— the airframe and powerplant license— will set them up for a career for the rest of their lives,” says Aviation Program Director John Trosie.
The facility at the Hudson Valley Regional Airport has classrooms and its own hangar with parts and aircrafts. It even houses the Falcon One, a jet that once flew former presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush., for technician students to work on.
"We tailored the program when we developed it to mirror industry standards,” says Genna Suraci, of the Aviation Maintenance Technology Program. “When airlines came here to hire our mechanics, not only were they certified by the FAA, but they got the hands-on experience on a live aircraft."
Under the roof, students can also pursue a career in becoming a pilot, thanks to state-of-the-art aircraft simulators and flight experts as teachers, or they can learn about aviation management.