April 09, 2007

Corporate-general aviation career day is April 28

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — There's more to an aviation career than flying commercial airplanes.

A vast array of potential aviation careers will be available for students to consider during Southern Illinois University Carbondale's sixth annual spring Corporate Aviation/General Aviation Career Day, Saturday, April 28.

Potentially the largest number of corporate and aviation aircraft in the event's history — brought in by SIUC aviation alumni — will begin arriving at Southern Illinois Airport, between Carbondale and Murphysboro, between 8 and 9 a.m. General aviation refers to all flying except for military and the airlines.

Openings are still available for the career day. The application deadline is Monday, April 16. Additional information and an application are available at http://www.aviation.siu.edu/careerdays/Corporate2007.pdf. For more information, contact

David L. Jaynes or Charlene Wallace at 618/453-9300.


Media Advisory

Reporters and photographers are welcome to cover the aviation career day. Planes will begin arriving at Southern Illinois Airport, west of Carbondale, at about 8 a.m. Tours of SIUC's aviation facilities and introductory flights will start about 9:15 a.m., and personnel from corporate and general aviation companies will be available for interviews. Members of the media may also wish to attend the various presentations on aviation careers that begin at 12:30 p.m. in Lawson Hall. For more information, contact David A. NewMyer at 618/453-8898.


About 80 high school, community college and non-traditional students will tour the University's aviation facilities at the airport, as well as the main campus. The students receive introductory flights in SIUC aircraft and SIUC aviation students, faculty, staff and alumni will serve as tour guides and answer questions.

The event is open to students who are in the eighth grade or higher. The career day is free, although students are responsible for their own transportation.

SIUC's aviation programs — aviation flight, aviation management, and aviation technologies — are part of the College of Applied Sciences and Arts.

Interest in aviation remains high, said David A. NewMyer, chair of the aviation management and flight programs. There are approximately 220,000 general aviation aircraft in the United States and 638,000 jobs in corporate and general aviation fields.

"The first thought of most kids is that they will work for the airlines someday," NewMyer said. "It's not that we want them to think, 'instead of the airlines,' we want them to know all of the possibilities. What this does is give them a whole new set of possibilities for careers in aviation."

SIUC's nationally recognized aviation program is the only one NewMyer knows of that places this type of emphasis on career days, which is an important recruiting tool. The program also has aviation career days with American Airlines and United Airlines.

"It's very important to our programs because what we try to get across to the students is that flying isn't the only career you can do," he said.

Jobs for graduates with aviation management degrees include airport management and air traffic control. An aviation technology degree provides graduates the opportunity to work on aircraft, as a product support specialist and avionics repair.

An aviation flight degree is easy to market because "it has the romantic aura about it," NewMyer said. But the aviation technologies and aviation management degrees are what NewMyer considers the industry's "unsung heroes."

Among the aircraft scheduled to arrive on April 28 is suburban Chicago-based Abbott's Gulfstream G450, eight-passenger jet. Steven R. Hawkins, a 1985 SIUC aviation graduate, is Abbott's director of corporate aviation, and there are two other SIUC graduates who work in the company's flight department.

The general aviation career day is "a unique opportunity for the University to show off one of the top aviation schools in the country," Hawkins said.

"It provides a vehicle for students, whereby seeing our plane, and other company's planes, it draws students to the University to see the aviation program. And it connects what they see at the school to what the future may hold for them in terms of job opportunities and career opportunities," Hawkins said.

Among the other corporate and general aviation aircraft expected are:

  • A citation jet aircraft from LRS in Springfield.
  • A Lear 31A jet aircraft from Cardinal Health, Columbus, Ohio.
  • A citation jet aircraft from Cook Enterprises, Carbondale
  • A Robinson R44 helicopter from Central Illinois Air, Corp. Mattoon
  • A King Air from Midwest Aviation, Inc. in Paducah, Ky.

There are jobs in the aviation industry, NewMyer said, noting that SIUC lost five flight instructors in December and January to jobs within the airline and general aviation industries. And he notes that for every graduate in aviation technologies, there are eight to 10 jobs available.

The itinerary for the day is:

  • 8-9 a.m. — Check-in. Arrival of students, parents and chaperones, and arrival of visiting corporate and general aviation aircraft at Southern Illinois Airport.
  • 9-9:15 a.m. — Group photo on the ramp.
  • 9:15-11:15 a.m. — Tours of SIUC's aviation facilities and introductory flights in SIUC aircraft.
  • 11:15-noon — Lunch.
  • Noon — Depart from main terminal via busses to SIUC main campus.
  • 12:30-2 p.m. — Presentations on aviation career tracks and opportunities, and presentations on SIUC's aviation programs, Lawson Hall.
  • 2-3 p.m. — Tour of SIUC campus.
  • 3 p.m. — Return to Southern Illinois Airport.