Sinclair to help train pilots for PSA airlines with new cadet program

Sinclair Community College is working with a Dayton-based airline to create a new pilot training program.

The college and Aviation Sales Inc. on Wednesday signed an agreement to create a pilot cadet program with American Airlines subsidiary PSA Airlines.

“It’s about aviation being a part of our DNA here in this region and so I’m sure that the Wright Brothers are smiling upon us,” Sinclair president Steve Johnson said during an announcement in PSA’s hangar at Dayton International Airport against the backdrop of a commercial jet.

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The pilot cadet program will make graduates of Sinclair’s aviation program eligible to be hired as certified flight instructors through ASI to teach at Sinclair and obtain the 1,500 total flight hours required by the Federal Aviation Administration to become a commercial pilot, according to the college.

While a cadet in the program, PSA will provide the certified flight instructors tuition reimbursement of $500 at designated intervals of completed flight hours up to $5,000. Upon completion of flight hours, PSA will offer cadets conditional employment as a first officer, according to Sinclair.

“This is right in line with our mission and given the fact that aviation is a priority in our college this is absolutely perfect,” Johnson said.

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PSA Airlines already has a similar agreement in place with Purdue University in Indiana. When the agreement with Purdue was reached in May, PSA Airlines said it was among the first regional carriers to launch a cadet program to help move students from the classroom to flight schools to the cockpit.

The agreement with Sinclair and Aviation Sales Inc., “will significantly benefit the students, the airline and the college” said PSA president Dion Flannery.

“We are excited to be able to strengthen this relationship with Sinclair and ASI to grow a local workforce for an industry that needs more qualified professional pilots,” Flannery said. “This program offers a solid pathway to a stable and growing career that starts with PSA and ends with a predictable path to the largest airline in the world.”

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The new agreement with Sinclair comes as the nation faces a shortage of qualified pilots to fly commercially.

PSA Airlines has for months been offering increasingly aggressive hiring bonuses to recruit pilots. Flannery has acknowledged the shortage himself and has said “it is fair to say that the bonuses are proving helpful in getting more interest and driving more applications to our airline.”

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