DENISON, TX -- With air towers closing across the country, and the pilot shortage affecting airlines, the US Aviation Academy in Denison is hoping to ease the pressure by growing it's operation and partnering with American Eagle.
A moment to remember as the US Aviation Academy graduated its first group of international pilots at its new North Texas Regional Airport location.
"It's been a lot of hard work that's gone in on behalf of the county and the cities that have helped make this happen on behalf of US Aviation," Grayson County judge, Drue Bynum, said.
The Academy also announced it will expand from 50 pilots-in-training, to 80. More students means more money for the County.
"Guys, what you don't understand is every time you land and take off, you're helping us keep that tower open," Bynum said.
The second major announcement from the Academy -- its partnership with American Eagle. The pilot shortage in the US has major airlines scrambling to find qualified pilots that meet FAA standards. The Pipeline Program will provide relief.
"By partnering with American Eagle it helps them attract future pilots that want to secure a position with their company, therefore helping out their demand," Director of Training and Standards, Tyson Walker, said. "As well as helping US Aviation to supply flight instructors to keep up with our demand and our need to help train the students we do have."
Domestic pilots who have graduated flight school can get their flight instructor license. Once they're hired by American Eagle for the pipeline program, they'll become flight instructors at the US Aviation Academy in Denison and Denton.
"Which means more jobs here potentially in Grayson county, more growth in Grayson county and certainly more take offs and landings," Bynum said.
The program puts the flight instructors on a fast track to reach the FAA standard of 1500 flight hours. Once they get those hours, they'll be able to fly for American Eagle and eventually be considered for American Airlines.
The Academy is also working with local colleges, like Grayson College, to start up an aviation program for domestic students as well.