April 01, 2008

Openings still available for aviation career day

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — High school students can explore aviation careers during Southern Illinois University Carbondale's upcoming spring Corporate Aviation/General Aviation Career Day.

The seventh annual event is set for Saturday, April 12. It is open to current eighth-grade, high school and community college students, who will tour the University's aviation facilities at the Southern Illinois Airport, as well as the main campus.

The students receive introductory flights in SIUC aircraft and aviation students, faculty, staff and alumni serve as tour guides and answer questions.

Corporate and general aviation aircraft are being brought in by SIUC aviation alumni, and will begin arriving at the 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 Tuesday, April 8. Additional information and an application are available at http://www.aviation.siu.edu/careerdays. For more information, contact David A. NewMyer, chair of SIUC's Department of Aviation Management and Flight, or Lori Robertson at 618/453-8898.

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 Wham 105. For more information, contact David A. NewMyer or Lori Robertson at 618/453-8898.

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.

There are 220,000 general aviation aircraft in the United States and 638,000 jobs in corporate and general aviation fields. NewMyer said many students who participate are surprised to learn and very interested that there is something other than airline work when it comes to aviation careers.

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.

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

Among the aircraft scheduled to arrive on April 12 is suburban Chicago-based Abbott's Bombardier Challenger 300, an eight- to nine-seat, super-midsize corporate jet. Steven R. Hawkins, a 1985 SIUC aviation graduate, is Abbott's director of corporate aviation, and one of three SIUC aviation grads employed in the company's aviation department.

Organizers expect other aviation department alumni to fly in with their aircraft.

Deciding on a career is one of the most difficult choices students can make because they don't know what is available that might appeal to them, Hawkins said. With overbooked airline flights and arduous security screenings, many companies have taken advantage of the corporate jet and the benefits it brings, he said.

"As business aviation has become an indispensable tool for business travelers, likewise the job opportunities have grown in this area of aviation, too," he said.

"Our participation in the general aviation career day is one way for us to introduce and promote business aviation as a career possibility," he said. "It provides a rare opportunity to see, feel and touch these aircraft and to learn firsthand just what kind of technological marvels they really are."

The event gives NewMyer the opportunity to recruit new students and open eyes to the aviation world, and also talk with alumni who were once students in the program, he said.

"The Corporate Aviation/General Aviation Career Days are the most fun days for me," he said.

Among the other firms expected to bring corporate and general aviation aircraft are:

  • A Citation 10 corporate jet aircraft from LRS Inc. in Springfield.
  • A Citation Encore jet from Jack Henry & Associates, Inc., Monett, Mo.
  • An aircraft and helicopter from Central Illinois Air, Corp., in Mattoon.

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, Wham 105.
  • 2-3 p.m. — Tour of SIUC campus.

3 p.m. — Return to Southern Illinois Airport.