2012 News

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FIT Adds Type Ratings to Curriculum

May 8, 2012

For its 2012 spring semester, the College of Aeronautics at Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) in Melbourne, FL added type ratings as electives to its flight training curriculum. The FAA requires type ratings for any turbojet aircraft and for any aircraft weighing over 12,500 pounds.

“There’s a big gap between what most college aviation training programs offer and good jobs in the real world,” said Captain Peter Dunn, chair of FIT’s Flight Education program. “We want our graduates to be able to compete for those good jobs, not only with air carriers but in business aviation, too." He said he knew of only one other collegiate flight program in the U.S. that now offers any jet experience as part of its curriculum.

Typically, students in college flight training programs earn an FAA Commercial Pilot certificate with instrument and multiengine ratings and often a flight instructor certificate with one or more ratings. After graduation, though, they must build hours toward the 1,500 required for an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate, preferably in a multiengine aircraft. Often, the new graduates work as low-paid flight instructors or as pilots for an air taxi company flying cargo in light piston twin-engine aircraft at night. 

“This [type rating addition to our curriculum] represents the gold standard in collegiate flight training," said Ken Stackpoole, vice president for Aviation Programs and dean of the College of Aeronautics. Dunn called the addition of type ratings a “quantum leap” for FIT students.

FIT’s College of Aeronautics offers type ratings for the Airbus A320, Boeing 737 (including the Boeing Business Jet), both through Aerostar Training Services in Orlando, FL. The college is negotiating with other flight training centers in central Florida to offer type ratings in smaller business jets.

Noting that recent high-profile air carrier crashes will almost certainly bring new requirements for pilot training facilities, Dunn said, “that’s the gap we’re helping close, anticipating the new regulations. Students with light plane experience only have not had the final course in the series necessary to become a business jet pilot. FIT’s new jet transition course and type rating complete that curriculum.” 

“With the coming pilot shortage, it made perfect sense for us to add type ratings to the curriculum,” said Dunn. “We’d been teaching pretty advanced systems and doing crew operations training, but only in the classroom. We needed some way to put what we were doing into practice.
"We are responding to what the new requirements intend. We want to give our graduates the ability to compete for good flying positions in general aviation, as well as those with the major airlines."