April 17, 2013

United Airlines-SIU Aviation Career Day is April 20

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Approximately 110 high school students this weekend will learn about possible aviation careers during the annual United Airlines-Southern Illinois University Carbondale Aviation Career Day.

When United Airlines’ flight 1745 arrives Saturday, April 20, at Southern Illinois Airport, the students will not only hear about the great aviation opportunities that SIU nationally recognized program can offer -- they will see it firsthand with the Transportation Education Center.

The facility, which opened last fall, offers state-of-the-art training for the University’s acclaimed aviation and automotive programs.  It is important for students to see the flight training, aircraft maintenance and air traffic control training equipment they will be working with, said David A. NewMyer, chair of the Department of Aviation Management and Flight.

“We have a home-court advantage with the TEC,” he said.

Officials anticipate the 144-seat A320 Airbus from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport will touch down at Southern Illinois Airport at about 8:45 a.m.  Capt. Steve Nolen will pilot the plane during the 45-minute flight.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and camera crews are welcome to attend the event, participate in courtesy flights, and interview students, faculty and alumni.  The plane will land at Southern Illinois Airport at about 9 a.m.  For more information, contact David A. NewMyer at 618/453-8898 or at newmyer@siu.edu.

This is the 15th aviation day affiliated with United Airlines, dating back to 1994. Suspended in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the program resumed in 2007.

SIU Carbondale is the only university that works with major airlines to fly students to its campus for an aviation career day event.  Alumni who come include pilots, dispatchers, mechanics, flight attendants, and others.  A total of 27 alumni who work with United Airlines are volunteering their time to make the trip and talk with students.

“These students will hear from our graduates.  The good thing is our graduates tell them what it is like to go through SIU Carbondale and then how they got to the airline industry,” NewMyer said

Nolen and First Officer Mark Conboy are both SIU aviation program graduates, and each also worked as interns with United while in college.  Nolen was the captain for the 2010 career day.  Originally from Stonington, Nolen graduated in December 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in aviation management and an associate of applied science degree in aviation flight.

The aviation degree programs consist of aviation management, aviation flight, and aviation technologies, all within the College of Applied Sciences and Arts.

After the students arrive at Southern Illinois Airport they will tour aviation facilities. Approximately 75 students will receive introductory flights, some in the program’s newest Cessna 172R Skyhawk planes that feature glass instrument cockpits.

About 30 percent of students who participate in aviation career days in the fall or spring will attend the University even if their major is not aviation-related.

Numerous students from Dundee-Crown High School in Carpentersville and Lyons Township High School in LaGrange are among those who will attend.

Even with recent airline mergers, NewMyer sees growth potential.  With mandatory age-65 retirements, passenger and cargo “legacy carriers” will easily lose 2,000 pilots annually as early as 2018, NewMyer said.  Industry observers predict that figure could climb to 3,000 annually around 2021 and 2022.  That also does not account for future growth on a worldwide basis, he said.

NewMyer also sees the career day opportunity as an investment for United Airlines.  This gives them the opportunity to spark interest among students who could work for the airlines in eight to 10 years.

The itinerary for the day is:

  • 6:30 a.m. -- Check-in at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.
  • 8 a.m. -- Depart for Carbondale.
  • 9 a.m. -- Arrive at Southern Illinois Airport.
  • 9:15 a.m. -- Group photos at base of plane.
  • 9:15 to 11:45 a.m. -- Aviation facility tours and introductory flights in SIU Carbondale aviation aircraft for selected students.
  • 11:15 a.m.-12:45 p.m. -- Lunch, multipurpose room B, Transportation Education Center.
  • 12:45 p.m.-2 p.m. – SIU Aviation presentation with United Airlines representatives, TEC, multipurpose room A.
  • 2-3:15 p.m.  -- Tours of campus, including the Student Center, Saluki Stadium, and Student Recreation Center.
  • 3:30 p.m. -- Return to Southern Illinois Airport.
  • 4:30 p.m. -- Depart for Chicago.
  • 5:30 p.m. -- Arrive at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.