Parkland program offers springboard into aviation careers

EvyJo Compton

Staff Writer

Students at the Institute of Aviation have received a variety of certificates over the years; this year alone, four students flew solo, five students earned their private pilot single-engine land certificate and three earned their instrument rating certificate.

One of these aviation students, Kyle Schum, is from the local town of Mahomet. He was one of the five who recently earned his private pilot certificate.

“I am an early graduate from Mahomet-Seymour High School, graduating in December of 2016, and began the Parkland aviation program in January of 2017,” Schum said.

“So far I have received my private pilot license,” Schum said. “It took me two semesters, or seven months, to get the license and required significant amounts of studying and around 50 hours of flight time. With my private pilot license, I can fly single engine aircraft, but [I cannot fly] for hire or in advancement of business.”

Once a student has earned their private pilot license, they have a few options to then follow that up with. These include both the instrumental and commercial licenses which Parkland’s aviation program offers.

“Both the instrument and commercial license will take me two semesters each, and I plan to stay at the Institute of Aviation to complete those,” Schum said. “The instrument training, which I have already started, consists mostly of learning how to fly in instrument meteorological conditions.”

“Instrument meteorological conditions” refers to situations when weather prevents pilots from flying by visual reference—meaning the ground and landmarks are not visible from the plane—and forcing them to rely much more heavily on their plane’s instruments to determine vital information such as altitude.

“Important maneuvers that are part of instrument training include instrument approaches, holdings, intercepting and tracking navigation courses and flying partial panel. Commercial training consists of honing prior knowledge, as well as preparing to become a commercial pilot,” Schum said.

Once students have earned their private, instrumental and commercial licenses, they can either move onto a four-year university to complete their bachelor’s or work to complete more licenses.

“After my commercial license, I will also have the opportunity to get a multi-engine land license and a flight instructor license,” Schum said. “My future at the Institute of Aviation includes receiving my instrument license, commercial license, and then transferring to a complete my bachelors in aviation. I then will transfer to a four-year university to complete a bachelor’s. I currently have plans to transfer to the University of Illinois and get a bachelors in atmospheric sciences.”

There are a variety of reasons for students to choose Parkland’s Aviation program, including the atmosphere, the tuition and location.

“I chose aviation as a career for the same reason that many others do, because of the love for aviation,” Schum said. “Ever since I was a little kid I would look up to a overflying aircraft and wishing I could be up there. I chose Parkland’s aviation program because it provides an accessible, affordable and safe atmosphere to learn about what I love the most.”

Stated on Parkland’s aviation program website, the Institute of Aviation was founded at the University of Illinois in 1946. It was the first aviation school in the United States to be certified by the Federal Aviation Admission to conduct all tests leading to the issuance of civilian pilot certificates.

In the later part of 2013, Parkland and the University of Illinois came into an agreement to transfer ownership of the institute to Parkland. After finalizing the details of the agreement, the institute opened up in 2014 for its first academic year under Parkland’s administration.

Learning to fly can be expensive, but according to the Parkland aviation site, tuition is offered at up to $50,000 less than other flight schools.

For in-district students, it costs $164 per credit-hour; for out-of-district students it costs $370, and for-out-of state and international students, it costs $529 per credit hour. On top of tuition there are course fees for each of the aviation classes involving flight, ranging from just over $2,000 to just over $10,000.

There are several ways that students can pay for the Institute’s tuition. Parkland offers scholarships, grants, loans and part-time jobs to help offset the costs.

For further questions about the program, individuals are encouraged to visit aviation.parkland.edu, email aviation@parkland.edu, or call 217-353-2171 for more information.