Aspiring pilots attend SOSU's aviation visitation day

Published: Jan. 24, 2020 at 6:20 PM CST
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Southeastern's aviation school hosted over 100 high school students Friday afternoon, who have their sights set on starting a career in flying.

High school students in the area got to see what it was like to have a career in aviation. One student in particular already has sky-high expectations.

"Being a commercial pilot would be really cool, that's a lot of people's dream," said high school senior Tatiana Beach.

Beach is being modest, she has another goal too.

"Even just being a private pilot for some of the people, they talk about Blake Shelton comes around here sometimes, that would be really cool," said Beach, laughing.

Southeastern hosted 170 students from Texas and Oklahoma, even as far away as San Antonio, to show off what their aviation program has to offer.

Program alum Chris Ferguson is a pilot for American Airlines, he wants the students to take advantage of the all-time high.demand for pilots.

"With mandatory retirement age at 65, and the number of retirements coming down the pipes the next couple years, it's just so much growth and potential for these young students," said Ferguson.

In September, Southeastern was named one of four schools across the country chosen for the Southwest Airlines pilot pathways program.

This program allows aspiring pilots or anyone interested in the aviation business to join Southwest.

But the program is so popular, not everyone can get their wings immediately.

"(With) the demand so high, we're actually capping our enrollment at 50 incoming freshmen," said Ferguson.

"It's just really cool and it's a cool industry to be a part of and planes are kind of awesome," said Beach.