September 09, 2009

Assistant aviation instructors win scholarships

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Two assistant instructors in Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s nationally recognized aviation flight program are recipients of prestigious national scholarships.

Garrett R. Gieker and Jeffrey D. Jaynes, also recent program graduates, received CAE SimuFlite scholarships, and will participate in two weeks of training later this year at CAE’s SimuFlite training center in Dallas/Fort Worth -- the world’s largest business aviation training center. Jaynes will attend classes Sept. 29-Oct. 30; Gieker will attend classes beginning Nov. 10.

Gieker and Jaynes are two of four recipients to receive CAE SimuFlite scholarships this year; the other two recipients are from Purdue University and Kansas State University.

“Both Jeff and Garrett are outstanding employees in the aviation flight program,” said David A. NewMyer, professor and chair of the Department of Aviation Management and Flight.

SIUC’s aviation program graduates have earned seven CAE SimuFlite scholarships since the scholarship was initiated in the 1990s.

SIUC has never had two recipients in one year. Sixteen applicants from seven universities, including Purdue University, Kansas State University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and the University of North Dakota, sought the four scholarships.

“It’s quite an honor. There are only four national winners and for two of them to come from here is a real testimony to the quality of our program,” NewMyer said.

The aviation flight, aviation management, and aviation technologies degree programs are part of the College of Applied Sciences and Arts.

According to CAE, Gieker and Jaynes will have access to the training center’s “experienced instructors, state-of-the-art curriculum and resources, including full-flight simulators and CAE ‘Simfinity’ tools, including computer-based courseware and integrated procedures trainers.”

“CAE is pleased to support aspiring cadets and help them reach their goals of being part of this challenging and exciting industry,” said Jeff Roberts, CAE group president, Civil Simulation Products, Training and Services. “This is one of many initiatives we have established to ensure pilots, be it novice or seasoned veterans, can benefit from our complete portfolio of simulation-based training solutions to perform their jobs as safely and efficiently as possible.”

Scholarship requirements are difficult for undergraduate students to reach. The two-year window for bachelor’s degree recipients to obtain scholarship qualifications is key, NewMyer said.

“They are both very highly qualified to receive the scholarships,” he said.

The training Jaynes and Gieker will receive will give them a rating in a Cessna Citation 500 Series, a twin-engine corporate jet, NewMyer said.

“What’s great about that airplane is there are hundreds of them in the system so a lot of people fly them. It’s also a great entry-level aircraft because they are so common it gives (Jaynes and Gieker) a boost in terms of getting a job,” said NewMyer, noting that the downside is potentially losing two flight instructors.

Jaynes earned his bachelor’s degree in aviation management from SIUC in May 2007. He is working on a master’s degree in public administration with an emphasis in aviation administration. He is the son of Dennis and Patricia Jaynes of Bartlett.

Jaynes said he is fortunate and overjoyed to receive the scholarship, which will help his career. The scholarship is “a dream come true,” he said.

“Right now, with the economy the way it is, and the general idea that corporate aviation drains a lot of ‘unnecessary’ money from corporations, it is difficult for a pilot to find, and hold, a job,” Jaynes said, noting that quite a few of his friends have been furloughed from airlines, corporations and charter companies, and the competition for jobs is fierce.

“If you don’t have some kind of leg up, you may not make it in,” Jaynes said. “This opportunity is just the leg up that will help me get a job flying the corporate jets. Companies spend a lot of money training new pilots, so if they don’t have to spend that money they are more apt to hire you.”

Gieker earned his bachelor’s degree in aviation management in May 2008.

The scholarship is an “excellent opportunity to get my foot in the door of corporate aviation,” said Gieker, the son of Gary and Valerie Gieker of Liberty.

“It has been my goal for some time to become a corporate pilot and this type rating scholarship will enable me to hopefully do just that,” Gieker said. “Aviation training is very expensive, especially on a jet, so to be given the opportunity to get the training for free is invaluable. Right now there are not a whole lot of jobs for low-time pilots in the industry, but when I gain the necessary experience and the economy turns around I should be right in line with this type rating to find a job in corporate/charter aviation.”

CAE is a world leader in providing simulation and modeling technologies and integrated training solutions for the civil aviation industry and defense forces around the globe, according to the company. CAE has the largest installed base of civil and military full-flight simulators and training devices. Through its global network of 29 civil aviation and military training centers, it trains more than 75,000 crewmembers yearly.