Southern Utah University's Bachelor of Aviation Science allows students to become a certified pilot in just three years. There are two programs to choose from within the aviation degree: rotor wing (helicopter) and fixed wing (airplane).
Through the aviation bachelor degree program, students will acquire ratings for private pilot, instrument, commercial, certified flight instructor, and certified flight instrument instructor. Students will develop the confidence, experience, and understanding they need to compete for top flying positions both domestically and internationally.
Robert Paul, aviation director of student outreach, moved to Cedar City from Fairbanks, Alaska specifically for flight training at SUU. He graduated with an associate degree in aviation sciences and a bachelor in interdisciplinary studies. Paul is a Commercial Rotorcraft Pilot as well as a Certified Flight Instructor. He has been a rotorcraft instructor for just over two years and continues to instruct when his current role allows.
Along with his vast knowledge of flying, he currently oversees the marketing and recruiting efforts for the aviation program. When asked why a prospective student should study aviation, Paul gave us four reasons why he thinks SUU has the best program for future pilots.
1. Cedar City is the perfect place to learn how to fly
SUU’s collegiate flight school is located at the highest altitude in the country. You won’t find a more beautiful place to fly all while getting the high altitude training that is crucial to your career as a pilot. With 300+ good weather training days, there’s no shortage of clear skies while flying. The flight school is also within minutes of mountains that exceed 11,000 feet.
Cedar City is surrounded by the most breathtaking areas to fly over, including Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Moab, and many more wonders of southern Utah.
"Our high altitude, mountainous terrain, and access to the many National parks in southern Utah make our airspace one of the best training environments in the world,” said Paul.
2. SUU Aviation is highly involved with the community
The SUU Aviation department has made it their duty to be involved in the community. One way SUU Aviation gets to be part of the community is by acting as Iron County Sheriff’s Department Air Operations Unit. SUU is the only flight school in the country that does this. Aviation instructors are made Sheriff's Deputies and have completed 160 missions so far in search and locate, crime scene photography, stolen property recovery, and more.
SUU Aviation is known for opening up their hangar to schools for field trips, inviting the community to watch fireworks at the hanger on the Fourth of July, and gives helicopter rides to anyone interested in the aviation department, free of charge. Creating a positive relationship with those in the community and educating people about flying is very important to everyone at SUU aviation.
3. 100% job placement for all students
Whether students decide to study fixed win or rotor wing, there is a high demand for pilots in the aviation industry as a whole. Based on statistics from Boeing, more than 600,000 pilots are needed in the next 20 years in just fixed-wing alone.
The Skywest Pilot Pathway Program offers a direct path for exceptional pilots who want
to take control of their aviation career. SkyWest Cadets at SUU can take advantage of SkyWest’s Tuition Reimbursement program. Under this program, up to $10,000 is available for SUU fixed wing aviation students to help them on their way to becoming one of SkyWest’s more than 4,100 professional pilots.
Through the substantial need of pilots in the industry and the many partnerships SUU has created, students that graduate from the program are almost guaranteed to be placed in a job. SUU has had 100% job placement so far for all their aviation students.
"Our program is producing the best pilots the industry has to offer, and our 100% job placement is proof of that." said Paul.
4. Advanced aircraft to learn on
SUU has top of the line aircraft as well as simulators to create a positive, safe learning environment for students.
In the summer of 2017, SUU purchased a fleet of 10 new Cirrus SR20 aircraft, the same aircraft that the US Air Force and major airlines use for their trainers. The Cirrus SR20 are the safest single- engine aircraft on the market, making the learning process a little less stressful for new students.
As far as rotor-wing, SUU purchased two new Robinson R-44 helicopters to assist students in their training process. Students also fly in Raven II helicopters and Bell 206 helicopters.
All in all, students are flying the newest, safest, and most up to date aircraft in the industry.
Paul closes by saying, "When you really take everything that we offer into consideration, SUU Aviation becomes the clear leader in flight instruction."
If flying a plane or helicopter high in the sky sounds like a dream come true, check out SUU’s Professional Private Aviation Program.