Texas State offering new aviation science program this fall

If you ever wanted to learn to fly, Texas State University has a new aviation science degree program, and it starts this fall. 

Texas State is partnering with Coast Flight Training and the San Marcos Regional Airport. The four-year degree is a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Science with an aviation science concentration.

"It's going to be a very successful program. We are all excited about it," Dr. Felix Quayson, B.A.A.S. Program coordinator said. 

Students will learn everything from weather to aircraft systems to how to be flight instructors themselves. 

"It's so great watching your student progress and going from not knowing anything about aviation to being able to land the plane, then being able to have these different ratings that allow them to fly in the clouds and then eventually allow them to get paid to fly, and then watching them go from a student to a flight instructor themselves," said Grace Cornwall, training standards manager and flight instructor for Coast Flight Training.

So far, 16 students are enrolled in the class, with a waitlist of 10.

"We have a lot of interest," Quayson said.

The degree is within the Department of Organization, Workforce, and Leadership Studies. Part of their mission is helping people from all walks of life continue their education. 

"We also want to help bridge the gap in the nation's demand for professional pilots, and we want to be a leader in that space. We think we have the resources, we have the potential, we have the abilities, and we have the right professionals doing the right job at the right time," Quayson said.

Many pilots are reaching mandatory retirement, and thousands of positions are expected to open in the coming years. 

"There was already a need prior to COVID. There was already a need. There was said to be a ten-year gap, a need for pilots," Heath Jameson, president of Coast Flight Training, said.

With all the right tools, students will be ready to soar.

"One of the things I love about my position is watching the students, cadets go from what we call zero to hero," said Tamra Reid, site director for Coast Flight Training.

The initial agreement for the program is five years, but the partners say they plan to grow year after year.