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Sen. Britt celebrates Tuskegee’s new flight school, backed by $6.7 million grant

This initiative not only honors the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen but also paves a new path for future aviators.

Tuskegee President Dr. Charlotte P. Morris presents Tuskegee memorabilia to Sen. Katie Britt. Courtesy of Tuskegee University
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In a significant move blending historical legacy with modern innovation, Tuskegee University announced on Wednesday its plans to launch a cutting-edge flight school degree program this fall. The initiative, which arrives on the wings of a $6.7 million federal grant championed by Alabama Senator Katie Britt, R-Alabama, promises to usher in a new era for aviation education at the storied institution.

During her visit to the campus on March 27, Britt, alongside Tuskegee’s leadership, including University President Dr. Charlotte P. Morris, delved into the intricate plans set to redefine the future of aviation training.

The proposed Tuskegee Aviation Program, currently awaiting the nod from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, is designed to offer students a unique blend of academic knowledge and practical flight experience.

“It was a pleasure to host Sen. Britt today,” Morris, the university president, said. “We look forward to starting the program this fall after our proposal to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, our accrediting body, is reviewed. This program will create opportunities for young aviators who dream of spending their lives soaring through the skies – here and around the world. I think General Chappie James and Captain Alfred Anderson would both be proud.”

The program’s foundation rests on a robust curriculum, offering a Bachelor’s degree in Aviation Science with a focus on pilot training. Students will navigate through a comprehensive suite of courses ranging from aerodynamics to meteorology, coupled with hands-on flight training at the historic Moton Field — the very ground where the Tuskegee Airmen once soared.

This initiative isn’t just about honoring the past. It’s a strategic response to the pressing demand for pilots in an industry bracing for growth surges and facing a looming pilot shortage. Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, the university’s provost, highlighted the program’s alignment with Tuskegee’s strategic goals, aiming to cultivate a new generation of pilots trained in the spirit of excellence that defined their predecessors.

“The most exciting part is the opportunity to train our students to become pilots,” Hargrove said. “In the tradition of General ‘Chappie’ James and the Tuskegee Airmen, we will continue the tradition of excellence in Aviation.”

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Tuskegee’s ambitious plan begins with a cohort of 25 students, with aspirations to expand significantly in the coming years, reflecting the university’s commitment to shaping the future of aviation, inspired by the indomitable spirit of the Tuskegee Airmen.

“Our Strategic Plan has specific objectives to identify academic programs in high demand for industry and for the workforce,” Hargrove said. “Some estimates say there is an annual demand for about 10,000 to 15,000 pilots annually for the next decade.”

This initiative not only honors the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen but also paves a new path for future aviators, fostering growth, innovation, and excellence in the field of aviation.

Bill Britt is editor-in-chief at the Alabama Political Reporter and host of The Voice of Alabama Politics. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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