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OCTC and EKU Launch Joint Aviation Program

Paul Brennan

Boeing has forecast a rising demand for commercial airline pilots, and a program in Kentucky will help fill the need.  

Owensboro Community and Technical College and Eastern Kentucky University have launched a program that will allow aviation students to get a college degree and receive pilot training without ever leaving town. 

Ralph Gibbs is director of aviation at EKU.

“They can start at OCTC, stay at OCTC, stay right here in Owensboro and complete their four year degree and all their aviation certificates," said Gibbs. 

Students will begin taking the flight portion of their degree at the Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport in January. 

Flight instructors from EKU will travel to Owensboro for the training.  Gibbs adds the airline job market is wide open and the program will fill a real need. 

“There’s a forecast demand of pilots over the next twenty years that is 500,000," said Gibbs. "That is such an astronomical number that even if I had the next twenty years to create new pilots at the Richmond pilots, it wouldn’t even make a dent in it.”

More than 500,000 pilots are expected to be needed in the next 20 years. 

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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