Purdue Aviation has entered a deal with a regional commercial airline to start training pilots.
Students in the PSA Airlines Cadet Program would spend a year taking classes and accruing hours of flight time through Purdue Aviation, which is separate from Purdue University’s teaching core. At the end of the program, pilots would receive certifications.
Purdue Aviation President Jeff Pittard says it’s a fast track to becoming a commercial pilot. He says PSA has an agreement for pilots to eventually fly for American Airlines.
“The real exciting thing for the young pilot is how quickly they can move up within the regional airline PSA and then on to American Airlines with the flow through,” he says.
Pittard says the majority of the training will come from Purdue, while PSA will assist with some aviation procedures.
He says they’re now trying to hammer out a provision that could guarantee students employment after completion.
“I think some of it is they want to see the quality of the student and make sure that what we’re telling them is what they’re getting,” he says. “And at that point, they’ll probably come on and say, ‘Bring them right through.’”
Pittard says no agreement has been reached yet.
He says even if a student who completes their educational and flight time requirements doesn’t get hired at PSA, students will still be fully qualified to work for other airlines.
Pittard says this opens the door for other airlines to partner with Purdue Aviation, and adds the school is having conversations with other carriers.