18-Sep-2014 Source: USU
Utah State University’s aviation program now offers helicopter pilot training with the addition of a rotorcraft emphasis to its already-established professional pilot bachelor’s degree program.
According to Kaylee Roholt, academic advisor for the aviation program, the creation of a helicopter emphasis has been in the works for several years, making USU’s bachelor’s level program one of a handful in the nation.
“There is a high demand for helicopter pilots in the aviation industry, especially those with skills acquired in a university setting,” Roholt said. “USU has responded to that need and is excited to welcome its first class of students.”
Although flight training differs between rotor- and fixed-wing aircraft, the majority of professional pilot classes will apply to students in both emphases, Roholt said.
To ensure students in the helicopter emphasis receive exceptional training, USU aviation has partnered with Mountain Ridge Helicopters to offer helicopter-specific courses. Professionals at Mountain Ridge will provide flight instruction and teach upper-division flight classes.
“We have worked with Mountain Ridge Helicopters for more than five years in cooperative projects,” said Aaron Dyches, chief flight instructor at USU. “We have found them to be a professional training school with industry relationships that will greatly assist our graduates.”
Megan Harris, school director for Mountain Ridge Helicopters, said the school’s location and teaching philosophy challenges students to become exceptional pilots.
“Ninety percent of helicopter training schools are at sea level,” Harris said. “Through mountain training, our students gain a thorough sense of power management and they also learn how to read the terrain and maneuver at high altitudes.”
At Mountain Ridge, beginning students will learn to fly small, single-engine Robinson R22 helicopters and will complete their flight training while taking additional courses at USU.