New opportunities for Parkland aviation students

Photo provided by  Wendy Evans | Parkland Aviation

Photo provided by Wendy Evans | Parkland Aviation

Peter Floess

Staff Writer

On Feb. 3, Parkland College’s Institute of Aviation signed an agreement with Lewis University in Romeoville, Ill. that makes transfer spots in Lewis University’s aviation program available to Parkland students. 

Lewis University, located near Chicago, offers seven programs in their aviation department: aviation administration, aviation maintenance management, air traffic control management, aviation flight management, transportation administration, unmanned aircraft systems, and a degree in aviation and aerospace technology.

“Those students who want [a degree in aviation] will have a path mapped out for them when they arrive at Parkland for a seamless transition to Lewis University,” says Sybil Phillips, director of the Institute of Aviation.

Parkland’s associates in aviation degree prepares students to operate commercial airliner while completing general education requirements.

“The student who completes [an associates in aviation at Parkland] will have a commercial pilot certificate with instrument-airplane and multiengine land ratings,” says Phillips. “The students can opt to continue training to get the flight instructor certificates and ratings as well. They also receive training in weather and aircraft systems, as well as all the general education requirements of an Associate degree.”

According to the Institute of Aviation’s website, the Institute of Aviation is a restricted Airline Transport Pilot License-approved school. This means that Parkland is able to graduate students who have less than 1,500 hours of flight time as certified co-pilots with a restricted privileges ATP certificate until they complete the necessary hours to obtain a full certification.

Aviation is a good career choice for students because of the projected need for pilots, with new positions continually opening as people retire and markets expand.

“This is a great time to be in aviation. We are at the front end of a pilot shortage that is projected to last until 2030,” says Phillips. “The shortage is due to the mandatory age-65 retirement rule at… airlines.  Some airlines have said that a pilot is retiring every 18 hours.  That equates to a need for about 500 new pilots per year just at that one airline.  Globally, the demand is great due to expanding markets in Asia and Africa.”

Another new opportunity that will be available to Parkland aviation students is a long-term internship with Trans State Airline, based in St. Louis, Mo. On Feb. 25, the Trans State Airline will sign a deal with the Institute of Aviation formally starting the partnership.

The Institute of Aviation has a number of other corporate partners. These include Republic Airways, based in Indianapolis, that flies thought-out parts of North America, Frasca International, an Urbana-based corporation that makes flight simulators, and the Flightstar Corporation, which runs out of Willard Airport in Savoy.

For more information on the Institute of Aviation visit