By Dr. Sharon B. DeVivo, president and chief executive officer of Vaughn College

A ticket to the middle class and beyond is what a position as an air traffic controller can mean for a young person from an underresourced and underrepresented community. This resilient and diverse workforce is exactly what we need to solve the shortage of controllers in the U.S.

The recently reported need for more air traffic controllers has joined the workforce issues being experienced across the industry. The latest figures in a report issued by the FAA estimate that in the next 10 years, we will have 1,000 fewer fully certified controllers while we are only on track to gain fewer than 200—a net loss of 800. Estimates for the number of needed controllers in the next decade vary between 2,500 and 3,000. The issues in New York are particularly acute right now and have resulted in the limiting of flights, affecting airlines and passengers nationwide.

The current shortage, brought on by retirements and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on training, led the FAA in November to announce plans to explore the expansion of existing training partnerships, including its work with higher education partners in the Air Traffic-Collegiate Training Initiative (AT-CTI).

There are several pathways to pursuing a career in air traffic control, including attending one of the roughly 30 AT-CTI institutions nationwide, applying through a public announcement (typically done about once per year) or serving as a controller in the military first. By attending an AT-CTI institution and achieving a recommendation to the FAA, students can bypass the first six weeks of basic FAA training in Oklahoma City, where all current training takes place. After completing work there, more site-specific training is done (and can take two years or longer) at the assigned facility until that individual becomes a certified professional controller.

Vaughn College is one of the original 13 institutions chosen in 1997 as part of the AT-CTI partnership. The FAA told us at the time one reason it chose Vaughn was that our students wanted to return to New York. For some strange reason, people from other parts of the country were not as quick to move to our great state. Another advantage to working with Vaughn: the ethnic diversity of our students. About 80% of Vaughn’s students are first-generation college students and first-generation Americans.

Twenty-seven years later, the most complex airspace in the world—which includes the towers at the region’s major airports and the New York Terminal Radar Approach Control facility—is filled with Vaughn graduates from this valuable partnership. These positions offer great pay and benefits with mandatory retirement at 56. This is just one of the reasons that Vaughn is the best institution in the country at moving students from the bottom levels of income to the top, according to a study done by the Equality of Opportunity Project.

I recently chaired the Youth Access to Aviation Jobs in America Task Force (YIATF), a team appointed by the Transportation Department. Our group of industry representatives provided Congress and the FAA with 21 recommendations for how to meet the workforce needs of our industry. Our findings included models for building greater awareness, and we learned that providing information access is essential, especially in communities that do not have exposure to aviation. Unless you know someone already in the field, you tend not to understand what is possible. We suggested a one-stop-shop website to provide information, career paths and connections to local resources. Those local resources give students and families the means to learn more and pursue activities such as visits to camps, museums, aviation events and more that can ensure a career in aviation and aerospace.

Most important, the ability of industry, educators and the FAA to work together is critical to the transformation we seek in our workforce development pipeline. As the YIATF concluded: “What will ultimately make a difference will be our ability to collaborate [and] communicate and our commitment to attracting young people to this exciting, impactful and horizon-expanding industry.”

AT-CTI institutions are ready to help the FAA grow and diversify the workforce, providing a new generation of Americans with the lifechanging possibilities that air traffic control can offer. Aspiring candidates from across America can look forward to a promising career that can change the trajectory for them and their families.

Article originally published in Aviation Week on February 2, 2024.

There’s nothing artificial about artificial intelligence (AI). In fact, this technology is playing a crucial role in the aviation industry as airlines are investing in AI to help them become more efficient and competitive.

From predicting flight delays to machine-learning technology, the use of AI is quickly becoming a real game changer in the aviation industry. In fact, the value of the global artificial intelligence market increased dramatically—from $152.4 million in 2018 to a projected figure of $2,222.5 million by 2025. What is driving this impressive upward trend? Let’s take a closer look.

Fleet and operations management

AI-powered systems have the potential to help aviation companies and operators lower their operating costs and overhead by optimizing their fleets and operations. Swiss International Air Lines and Lufthansa, for example, have reportedly had impressive results in their experience from using AI in their respective operations. Having applied AI technology for the purpose of improving efficiency, Swiss International Air Lines saved $5.4 million last year and saw a boost in optimization efficiency for more than half its flights. Lufthansa, on the other hand, is using AI to more accurately forecast wind patterns that blow from the northeast to southwest Switzerland. By helping to better predict wind patterns, the airline had a 40 percent improvement in accuracy, which in turn is helping with flight delays and cancellations at Zurich Airport.

Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and JetBlue are investing in AI to optimize their respective operations.

Here are some of the ways AI is being used by airlines to increase efficiency and save money:

  • Predicting flight delays—Although there are a variety of factors that can impact flight delays, such as weather conditions and operations at other airports, applying predictive analytics can play a role in analyzing real-time data to help predict delayed flights, update departure times and even rebook customers’ flights.
  • Managing fuel consumption and emissions—AI technology helps to optimize flight plans to minimize fuel burn by avoiding unfavorable weather or traffic conditions.
  • Pricing optimization and airline revenue management—Airlines lose money from having to fly half-empty planes. Pricing optimization uses machine-learning algorithms to search for ways to boost sales revenue by ensuring that flights are optimally booked, while also reducing the risk of overbooking.
  • Automating inventory management—AI algorithms help to analyze usage patterns and maintenance schedules so spare parts are available when needed, reducing inventory costs.
  • Identifying potential aircraft malfunctions—Predictive maintenance can help identify potential aircraft failures before they happen, which in turn can lead to lower maintenance costs and flight disruptions.
  • Streamlining airport check-ins and baggage procedures—Facial recognition technology powered by AI can expedite check-ins, immigration processes and baggage handling operations which can lead to a reduction in labor costs and greater efficiency.
  • Optimizing crew scheduling—Planning a crew roster takes into account several factors such as number of flights, number of standby crew, vacation schedules, transfers, layovers and rest requirements. Machine learning algorithms can automate this process by looking at historical data to optimize crew rosters.
  • Streamlining repair and assembly of parts—Maintenance technicians and aircraft manufacturers can improve repair and assembly processes and engineers can expedite design/certification of products by using AI software and robots—including ChatGPT.

Customer service

AI is making great strides in customer satisfaction and customer retention. There’s no denying that delays and cancellations can make any trip begin on a sour note. Even the most loyal customers may rethink booking on their favorite airline the next time they travel. By utilizing AI, airlines are improving their customer flight experience by providing personalized service to their customers.

Here are some examples of how AI is improving customer service:

  • Recommending travel itineraries.
  • Providing real-time information about flight status and delays.
  • AI chatbots to answer customer questions and resolve issues quickly.
  • Flight route optimization lowers operational costs, which then leads to higher customer retention.

The human factor

For some, the fear of AI or robots taking over their jobs is a genuine concern. The reality is that while AI may change the way we work, human perception and intellect are still needed—especially for highly intellectual property that requires a relationship between machines and humans. People are still needed to run and monitor AI systems. AI may even have the potential to create new jobs in the aviation industry, handling some of the responsibilities outlined below.

  • Maintaining AI systems for aircraft and ground operations.
  • Developing algorithms.
  • Ensuring that AI is being used responsibly and ethically.

Landing an aviation career begins with a Vaughn degree

Looking to pursue a degree in aviation? Now is the time to get started. Were you aware that the projected need for aviation personnel will top nearly 2.3 million over the next 20 years? Whether you’re passion is to become a computer engineer, pilot, air traffic controller, aviation maintenance technician or even work in airport operations, Vaughn College has degree and certificate programs that can help launch your career. Apply today!

Is becoming a pilot on your radar? The latest partnership between Vaughn College and Atlas Air’s University Pipeline Program can put you and aspiring pilots in the captain’s seat faster—with less expense—all while receiving exceptional benefits and support. Buckle up as Ron Ruggeri, online technical specialist instructor in the aviation department at Vaughn, sheds light on this exciting collaboration that can fast-track the careers of tomorrow’s pilots.

A new era of opportunity

The purpose of this program is twofold: It has been designed to grow Atlas Air’s pipeline of qualified applicants for employment in high-demand positions as well as increase career opportunities for qualified Vaughn College flight students. Through the University Pipeline Program, Atlas Air will recruit, train and hire qualified Vaughn graduates, thus affording them a new era of opportunities and benefits that can accelerate their career trajectories.

Program timeline

As you may expect, there is a structured timeline which each student must follow to ensure he or she has all the required licenses and flight hours to qualify for this opportunity. Ruggeri emphasizes the timeline students should follow:

  • In their sophomore year, students should begin their instrument rating to secure the following five licenses: private, instrument, commercial, certified flight instructor—single-engine airplane (CFIA) and certified flight instructor instrument.
  • In their senior year (or seventh semester), Ruggeri said flight students begin their CFIA and start building flight hours toward the required 1,000 hours in order to obtain their Restricted Airline Transport Pilot License (R-ATP). Notably, aspiring pilots must be at least 23 years old to be eligible for this license. And the cost for obtaining these hours is expensive: flight hours can cost up to $300 per hour, bringing the total to $300,000 for the required 1,000 hours. For this reason, Ruggeri said many students opt to instruct during this period to offset the expenses associated with their flight training.

Program requirements

To be considered for the Atlas Air Pathway program, each candidate must meet the following criteria:

  • Maintain a 3.0 grade point average
  • Not have any background check disqualifications
  • Submit an application, résumé and introduction that details his or her aviation journey and career aspirations– if applicable, applicants must continue to update their résumés and total time
  • Submit a letter of recommendation from a professor from the specific industry-affiliated program

Graduates selected to take part in the Atlas Air Pathway to Success program will be granted preferential interviews with Atlas Air. To be considered, candidates must meet these and other criteria:

  • No more than two training failures on required ratings (excluding private pilot)
  • First class medical certificate
  • Serve as a CFI for Heritage Flight Academy or other Vaughn-affiliated 141 flight training school
  • Letter of recommendation from a flight instructor and professor from the Aircraft Operations (Flight) program
  • Graduated with required academic experience for Restricted Airline Transport Pilot (R-ATP)
  • Reach R-ATP eligibility and required minimum flying experience within two years of graduation
  • Must not be part of any other airline pathway or cadet program after signing the offer letter with Atlas Air
  • Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) qualification preferred

University Pathway to Success Program benefits

Among the most exciting aspects of the program are the considerable benefits that Vaughn students will receive. If you’re still thinking about the cost of the flight hours, the next part may put your mind at ease. Check this out. Qualified and selected students may:

  • Receive 500 free hours of flight time, courtesy of Atlas Air
  • Seamlessly transition into the role of First Officer at the age of 23, flying prestigious aircraft such as the 777 or 747
  • Get promoted to Captain faster than the typical seven-year timeframe
  • Enjoy a unique work life-balance that exists in cargo flying offering a two weeks on/two weeks off schedule; plus Atlas Air covers the cost of departure seats to ensure that pilots are able to commute home to see their families

A commitment to diversity

Vaughn and Atlas Air also share a common commitment to diversity. Vaughn serves a diverse student body of about 1,200 students, 80 percent of whom are from under-resourced communities.

“Vaughn is so pleased to deepen our partnership with Atlas Air and provide an expanded pipeline of talented, diverse graduates who want to contribute to the company’s success,” said Dr. Sharon B. DeVivo, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vaughn College. “This is another example of Atlas’ commitment to developing, hiring and promoting aviation professionals and investing in our students—the next generation that will change the world.”

Is becoming a pilot on your radar? For complete details, and to determine eligibility, contact Ron Ruggeri at Vaughn College. You can apply to the program here.

The ongoing shortage of air traffic controllers is swinging doors wide open for those seeking a career in this in-demand job. With the shortage hitting the New York area especially hard, this is an opportune time for those who are considering this career path—particularly for anyone who resides locally. Here’s why: Vaughn College, a leading aviation institution in Queens, adjacent to LaGuardia Airport, offers training that makes becoming an air traffic controller easier than you might expect. 

Why the need is so urgent

According to Pete Buttigieg, United States Secretary of Transportation, the United States is understaffed by about 3,000 air traffic control positions. Additionally, data revealed that 77 percent of critical air traffic control facilities, such as New York Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) and Miami Tower, are staffed below the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) required 85 percent—coming in at 54 percent and 66 percent, respectively. It is therefore no surprise that this critical shortage is leading—in part—to more flight delays and cancellations during the height of summer travel and well beyond. With an estimated 24,9000 air traffic controllers currently in place in the United States, the need is expected to grow to 6,800 over the next 10 years—factoring in the retirement of approximately 5,900 practicing air traffic controllers and the addition of 900 more. 

What does it take to become an air traffic controller?

As you might imagine, working as an air traffic controller can be intense. It requires the capacity to concentrate and multi-task in stressful situations as well as the ability to process a multitude of information quickly, among other critical responsibilities. And you may be surprised to learn about the specific requirements that are entailed. Let’s dive into these specifics.

Air traffic controller eligibility

Per the FAA, air traffic controllers (trainees without previous experience) must be 30 years old or younger before the closing date of the application period (with limited exceptions). Here is a list of the other mandatory requirements that applicants must meet to be considered eligible:

  • Be a United States citizen
  • Pass a medical examination
  • Pass a security investigation
  • Pass the FAA air traffic pre-employment test
  • Speak English clearly enough to be understood over communications equipment
  • Have three years of progressively responsible work experience, or a Bachelor’s degree, or a combination of post-secondary education and work experience that totals three years

It’s important to note that the 2023 application window is closed. The FAA only accepts applications once a year within a three-day period. Learn more about the FAA’s latest updates and information. 

Air traffic controller responsibilities and benefits 

There’s so much more to this job than meets the “eye in the sky.” In addition to coordinating and monitoring the movement of aircraft within safe distances—both in the air and on the ground, these specialized professionals must:

  • Control ground traffic at airport runways and taxiways.
  • Issue landing and takeoff instructions to pilots.
  • Transfer control of departing flights to other traffic control centers and accept control of arriving flights.

Benefits of working as an air traffic controller:

  • Potential to earn a six-figure salary after the first few years of service.
  • Consistent work schedule.
  • Scheduled breaks throughout your shift.
  • Mandatory retirement age at 56—with full federal benefits and pension.

Why Vaughn is your path to becoming an air traffic controller

Vaughn College partners with the FAA to offer the Air Traffic—Collegiate Training Initiative (AT-CTI). The FAA hires approximately 50 percent of its candidates from the AT-CTI and the military. Additionally, AT-CTI candidates can bypass the biometric screening exam, which many do not pass. In addition, if you already have an associate degree or bachelor’s degree, Vaughn offers a fast-track degree program where you can complete your prerequisite courses for the FAA exams in a year and a half. Otherwise, it takes two-to-four years.

Looking for another reason to choose Vaughn’s air traffic control program? The College is one of only 33 schools nationwide that offers AT-CTI―and the only institution to do so in the northeast. When it comes to aviation, Vaughn has the history, experience, reputation and industry connections that will ensure students graduate with a successful career. 

Watch these recent CBS and WPIX 11 news segments on the air traffic controller shortage featuring Vaughn’s training program.  

What’s on your radar for the future? Be a part of the next generation of air traffic controllers. Apply today!

Exciting advancements in the field of autonomous vehicles will have the public at large doing a double take as the reality of unmanned vehicles—both in the air and on the ground—gains momentum. And many skilled pilots, technicians and engineers will be needed to support these future endeavors.

Here, we’ll highlight some of the latest events happening in the New York area surrounding autonomous vehicles and electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOL) which are intended to provide air taxi service in the not-so-distant future. Get ready to learn all about how the future of this phenomenon is carving a bright future for Vaughn College students.

Platooning demonstration at John F. Kennedy Airport

This June, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) and Ohmio—a leading New Zealand-based autonomous mobility company—will host the country’s first three-vehicle platooning demonstration at John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport. This exciting event involves eight-passenger driverless shuttles that will travel closely together—without connection—on a closed area at the airport’s long-term parking lot. This demonstration is highly anticipated as it showcases how advancements in autonomous vehicle technology will someday transport passengers safely and efficiently to airport rental car facilities, nearby commuter rail stations, long-term parking lots and other short-term connections—without a driver and within a single movement. Last fall, the PANYNJ was highly successful in its demonstration of two eight-passenger electric autonomous shuttles. The second demonstration is planned to test a larger platoon at faster speeds.

New York City sees first test flight of piloted eVTOL

Earlier this year, skygazing New Yorkers had the opportunity to see the first test flight of a piloted eVTOL at the Westchester County Airport in White Plains, New York. BLADE Air Mobility and BETA Technologies tested a six-passenger ALIA-250 eVTOL—powered by an all-electric propulsion system—to test the noise profile of the aircraft. This milestone demonstration highlighted the transition of helicopters to eVTOLs and proved to be successful: The sound decibel was reduced to one-tenth of that of a helicopter.

Airbus and Boeing on board for autonomous eVTOL air taxi services

Aviation giants Boeing and Airbus are working toward making autonomous air taxi service—specifically pilotless eVTOLs—a high-flying reality in the near future.

Airbus has its sights set on certifying its City Airbus NextGen four-seat eVTOL by 2025, starting with piloted service and transitioning to an uncrewed air taxi service once regulations allow.

Boeing revealed that it invested $450 million in Wisk Aero—a California-based advanced air mobility company—which is developing the world’s first self-flying, all-electric four-seat air taxi that will transport people in dense urban areas. One of the key factors, however, is to build the air taxis to be as light as possible. Wisk Aero plans on leveraging Boeing’s experience with lightweight composite material that was used on the 787 fleet. The company intends to focus on uncrewed urban air mobility—with eVTOLs piloted by a multi-vehicle supervisor on the ground. There’s still some work to be done before you’ll actually see air taxis fly over your city. Regulatory agencies—such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), NASA and even international regulators—will play a major role in approving unmanned air taxis. Wisk Aero hopes to gain certification from the FAA by 2030.

Autonomous bus travel through the Lincoln Tunnel

If you’re loving the thought of zipping around in an autonomous shuttle at the airport, can you imagine what riding in an autonomous bus through the Lincoln Tunnel would be like? This idea is not too far from becoming a reality. In fact, the PANYNJ is working toward using autonomous vehicle technology in public transit. In October of 2022, the PANYNJ partnered with Navya, a leading French autonomous mobility company, to hold a demonstration of two-vehicle shuttle platooning at the JFK Aqueduct Parking Lot, the first-of-its-kind at a North American airport. The demonstration featured two eight-passenger electric autonomous vehicle (AV) shuttles in a platoon to simulate how AV technology could serve passengers in the future and increase capacity of the bus lane.

How eVTOL aircraft reduce impact on the environment

eVTOL aircraft will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency compared to traditional planes and helicopters. This is because eVTOLs are powered by electric motors, which produce zero emissions and are much more efficient than traditional gas engines.

In addition, as noted, eVTOL aircraft are being made to operate predominantly in urban environments, which reduces the need for long commutes and decreases traffic congestion. This can lead to a reduction in overall energy consumption as well as an increase in individual productivity and well-being.

How Vaughn is providing skilled engineers to move autonomous vehicle development forward

As you can imagine, there are many moving parts to autonomous vehicles. With that being said, the industry needs skilled mechanical, electrical, mechatronic and aerospace engineers to design, build, test and ensure the safety of these efficient, high performing vehicles. In addition to associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in these areas, Vaughn offers a certificate program in unmanned aerial system (UAS) design, application and operation, so you can become the next engineer to help design and build eVTOL vehicles. Vaughn’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) club is a community of students and faculty who put their heads together to build, program and fly drones, and compete in top contests around the nation. They are also ambassadors of drone safety and help to mentor young drone enthusiasts.

Vaughn offers a certificate in safety management systems which will give you a competitive edge in managing aviation safety. The sky is—literally—the limit in where your degree can take you. Discover the possibilities to create a brighter future not only for yourself, but for the world too. Apply today!

In recognition of Earth Day, Vaughn College is celebrating with some exciting news where sustainability in the aviation and engineering industries is concerned. Learn how these industries that employ engineers, technicians and managers are taking important strides toward becoming more environmentally friendly and sustainable, thanks to a variety of innovative technologies that are already beginning to revolutionize the way we fly.

Sustainable Fuel

One of the biggest and most promising developments is the move towards sustainable aviation fuel (or SAF). So, what is SAF? SAF is a biofuel that’s produced from sustainable feedstocks that has similar properties as traditional fossil jet fuel—but with a smaller carbon footprint. American Airlines was the first airline to use SAF in its regular operations. Since then, other airlines have begun experimenting with these biofuels in their commercial flights. (American Airlines, it should be noted, is hoping to reach its goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 2050.)

The commitment for net-zero GHG emissions is also being seen at NASA and at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Bolstering this commitment, the U.S. Department of Energy is working with federal agencies—which include the US Department of Agriculture and the US Department of Transportation—to making aviation cleaner, quieter and more sustainable by 2050.

Electric planes

The reality of electric planes may be closer than you think, as the technology behind these futuristic aircraft is rapidly evolving. As you would surmise, electric planes run on electricity instead of jet fuel—which significantly reduces their emissions and lowers the industry’s environmental impact. This promising development could be a real gamechanger. Although electric planes are not capable of keeping up with traditional planes when it comes to distance and speed, they could be a viable option for many commercial flights in the future.

On the other hand, electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft and advancements in urban air mobility may not only be a high-flying reality but an employment booster as well, since it has the potential to create new job opportunities. The need for skilled engineers, designers and maintenance technicians are only a few of the jobs that are necessary for the development and manufacture of eVTOL vehicles. And when it comes to flying these amazing aircraft, the need for pilots will increase even more. Additionally, eVTOL vehicles will require maintenance and repair opening doors for a range of career opportunities that can potentially stimulate economic growth in many communities.

Advancing technology

Thanks to advanced technology such as data analysis, artificial intelligence and blockchain solutions, airplanes now run far more efficiently and safely. These latest innovations are not only helping to reduce energy consumption, emissions and waste, but they are saving airlines money, improving reliability and boosting passenger satisfaction.

Beyond the aviation industry, wind and solar power are also creating new opportunities for engineers and those holding airframe and powerplant certificates. Many engineers are working to develop and improve wind turbines and solar panels. These technologies not only help provide clean energy for homes and businesses, but they also create new jobs for people looking to build, design and maintain the structures. See how Samia Oishi ’21 is using her mechatronic engineering degree from Vaughn to drive energy equity and create a more sustainable future.

How a Vaughn degree can lead to a futureproof—and sustainable—career

Earning a Vaughn degree can meet today’s industry needs where they are. Innovations in SAF, electric planes and technology are helping to reduce the environmental impact while creating new opportunities for engineers and professionals in related fields.

Are you looking for a futureproof career that can make an environmental difference? Vaughn offers degrees in engineering and technology, management and aviation. Discover the possibilities of a Vaughn College degree. Apply today!

The management department at Vaughn College welcomed Dr. Arline Bronzaft, environmental psychologist, author, researcher and renowned expert on noise to its Industry Insights Speaker Series, sponsored by ATL Partners. Hosted by Dr. Maxine Lubner and Adjunct Professor Loretta Alkalay, Dr. Bronzaft discussed her lifetime of experience in the study of the effects of noise on mental and physical health and learning.

About Arline L. Bronzaft, PhD

For more than 50 years, Bronzaft has been an exemplary leader in bringing awareness to the effects that noise has on learning and society. She is an environmental psychologist, researcher, consultant and author whose collaborative work with numerous agencies has led to landmark changes, such as the 2007 revision of the New York City noise code and the implementation of a noise education curriculum in the New York City public school system—to name just two. Her passion and dedication to this cause led her to research the impacts of transit noise on classroom learning and airport-related noise and how each affects residents who live near transportation vicinities.

Bronzaft holds the title of Professor Emerita from City University of New York. She co-authored “Why Noise Matters” and wrote “Listen to the Raindrops”—a book which teaches children about the dangers of noise. Bronzaft has been appointed by five New York City mayors as the chairperson of the Noise Committee of Additionally, she received the American Psychological Association Citizen Psychologist Presidential Citation. She is a founding member of The Quiet Coalition, a group of professionals in the science, health and legal arenas whose aim is to give one voice to the growing public health problem of environmental noise.

How her career began

Bronzaft first became interested in sound and noise research after studying the impacts of subway noise on student learning. In one instance, a subway would pass by a school every four minutes, but only half the number of students would hear it. Bronzaft’s study revealed that children who were exposed to the train noise were a year behind in reading skills when compared to students on the quieter side of the school. Additionally, Bronzaft conducted research on the health and well-being of New York residents who had been impacted by the noise of aircraft. So, what exactly is noise? Let’s find out.

What—exactly—is noise?

Bronzaft explained that before defining what noise exactly is, there must be an understanding of the concept of sound. She described sound as a physical phenomenon of vibrations that travel through the air—or water—and are then detected by our ears. Then, the brain analyzes these vibrations to help us determine what they are (i.e., the sound). The frontal lobe of our brain is what tells us if it’s welcoming and pleasant—or not.

Noise, on the other hand, is just that: noise. It is measured by its volume to determine whether it is welcoming or not. For the most part, noise is nothing more than unpleasant or unwanted sound.

Did you know that noise is among the most widespread occupational health issues that we experience today? Bronzaft outlined the effects of noise on our health in ways that we might never have imagined.

Effects of noise on our health

Have you ever been bothered by a particular sound, such as a dripping faucet or a high-pitched voice? Bronzaft explains how the way we react to a particular sound has physiological effects on our bodies that are intrusive, thus making it difficult to learn or complete a task. “Noise is harmful to our health and can cause physiological damage,” Bronzaft said.

Here are some of the startling ways in which noise can affect our health:

  • Cause stress—The way our bodies react to noise can cause an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, which may lead to physiological damage.
  • Increase aggression and incite harmful behavior—Noise can cause aggression, anger and dangerous, harmful behavior.

Interesting Fact: The effects of noise date back to the Roman Era, when horses walked on cobblestone streets. Fast forward to 1776, when our founding fathers asked for dirt to be placed on the cobblestone streets to help reduce the noise while they drafted the Declaration of Independence.

How to cope with noise

There’s no denying that we live in a noisy society. Bronzaft’s lifelong commitment to building a quieter society has uncovered some interesting outcomes, such as “learned helplessness.” A good example of this would be living on the bottom floor of an apartment building with noisy neighbors above you. Aside from moving out, those who live downstairs feel helpless in their situation, which increases their stress levels. “Our bodies use extra energy to sustain itself in situations like these,” said Bronzaft. “Getting used to a situation is not the answer. In fact, it’s just the opposite and will have adverse effects on the well-being of your body.”

There are many ways to address a situation like this calmly and pointedly. You can speak with the landlord or speak directly with the noisy neighbor to work out a reasonable agreement.

How the pandemic opened our eyes—and ears—to sound

Interestingly, the pandemic has resulted in a reduction of noise that has created a quieter society. “People began realizing the sounds of nature,” Bronzaft said. “Without airplane and other intrusive noises, we became more aware of birds singing, dolphins and whales surfacing and other amazing sounds of nature.”

How Vaughn has addressed noise on campus

Vaughn’s close proximity to LaGuardia Airport has raised questions about airplane noise and its effect on student well-being and learning. Dr. Lubner weighed in on the steps which Vaughn took to soundproof the buildings on the College’s campus. In a collaborative effort, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey funded a $23 million renovation to soundproof the academic buildings, along with the residence halls, in an effort to shield students and faculty from airplane noise. “We have learned very important lessons through studies and science on the negative effects of noise on learning,” said Dr. Lubner. “It’s important to address these issues from the very beginning through discussion and design. It is then we can help to prevent and mitigate these issues.”

Vaughn’s aviation and management programs

Vaughn offers a range of master’s, bachelor’s, associate and certificate programs in aviationmanagement and aviation maintenance. As a leading institution in these industries, the College is setting the pace for providing its students with the skills they need to land jobs in these in-demand fields. Are you ready to pursue your futureproof career? Discover the possibilities of a lifelong career through one of our programs. Apply today!


The management department at Vaughn College welcomed John M. Allen, president of Allen Aviation and Safety Consultants, LLC and vice president of safety at JetBlue (Ret.) to its Industry Insights Speaker Series, sponsored by ATL Partners. Hosted by Dr. Maxine Lubner and Adjunct Professor Loretta Alkalay, Allen discussed the changing culture of safety management systems within the aviation industry and shed light on certain skills that students will need in order to be a successful aviation safety consultant. At this event, students learned the importance of safety and how the benefits of earning Vaughn’s Safety Management Systems Certificate can put them on the right path towards a futureproof career.

About John Allen

For more than 40 years, John Allen has set the pace for having made significant contributions in the areas of leadership and safety management systems, as well as setting industry standards for improving aviation safety at every level.

His impressive career began in the United States Air Force, where he served for 31 years in both active and reserve duty. During that time, he held several command positions that included vice wing commander, squadron commander and ultimately the rank of brigadier general. This was the position he held at the time of his retirement. Allen’s passion for aviation safety led him to the Federal Aviation Administration , where he held several high-ranking positions over his 22-year career. Prior to retiring from the agency in 2013, Allen served as the Director of Flight Standards Service (AFS-1). In this position, he led an organization of over 5,600 inspectors and aviation professionals to oversee global aircraft operations under U.S. authority or responsibility. Shifting his unparalleled expertise to the business side of the industry, Allen accepted the position of vice president of safety at JetBlue Airlines. For the next seven years, he led the way to growing and strengthening the effectiveness and practice of the airline’s safety program. Today, Allen is president of Allen Aviation and Safety Consultants, LLC, which specializes in aviation safety, safety management systems, quality management systems, Federal Aviation Administration and leadership consulting.

The ‘art of safety’

One would think that safety is on the minds of everyone when it comes to flying on an airplane. Allen stated otherwise. “It’s harder to implement safety than anything,” he said. “Management doesn’t understand the ‘art of safety’.” He explained how it takes money, discipline and research findings to convince management officials about the importance of safety. “Technology is changing so rapidly, security management systems need to be customized to the organization,” he said. “We need to work with the culture and train from the top-down—teaching from their perspective in a way they will understand. It’s all about showing the appeal that safety is about money, too—not just saving lives.” And when it comes to passenger perspective on safety, Allen said that only about 30 percent of the flying public are fearful flyers. Check out his book, “Airline Safety Is Not by Accident… (Well Maybe Sort Of, I’ll Explain), A Memoir.”

Life tips for student success

Allen offered life tips on what students should take away from the college experience. To succeed in life, he explained how his own time in college was to broaden his thinking to learn, innovate and communicate. Have you ever wondered if you’ll ever use some of the information you’re learning in the classroom? Allen said it wasn’t until he graduated decades ago that he figured it all out. Here are the three principles which he believes are not only important in school, but are also critical for overall success in life:

  • Learn to learn—and learn quickly: Professional success is all about keeping up with the competition. Learning faster than your peers will help you rise to the top.
  • Learn to think critically, innovate and expand on what you learn: It’s important to analyze what you learn, think critically about it and improve on it. The key lesson is that it is okay to fail. Develop a passion to improve upon what you learn.
  • Learn to communicate and help others learn from your ideas: Nurture your communication skills, both written and spoken. The best innovative ideas will have no value if you cannot communicate them effectively with others.

Effective leadership techniques

With over 40 years of leadership experience, Allen knows there’s more to be being an effective leader than just “managing.” Here are some of his top leadership techniques for success:

  • When you enter a room, light it up—don’t bring it down.
  • Treat everyone as you would want to be treated. Be humble, yet confident and committed.
  • Don’t fake leadership. Crewmembers can spot a fake a mile away.
  • Provide guidance and vision, and then stand back. Trust and verify. It’s important not to micromanage. Use any shortcomings as teaching moments.
  • Recognize individuals for a job well done.
  • When meeting anyone, always look them in the eye, smile and greet them by name—if possible.

Vaughn’s Aviation and Management Programs

Vaughn offers a range of bachelor’s, master’s, associate and certificate programs in aviationmanagement and aviation maintenance. As a leading institution in these industries, the College is setting the pace by providing its students with the skills they need to land jobs in these in-demand fields. Are you ready to pursue your futureproof career? Discover the possibilities of a lifelong position through one of our programs. Apply today!

As the pilot shortage continues to be a focus in the media, the airline industry is facing yet another shortfall which has received less coverage: A shortage of aviation maintenance technicians (AMTs) – the people who maintain, repair, inspect and overhaul aircraft every time they are grounded. Without sign-off from an AMT, a plane cannot fly. With air travel approaching pre-pandemic levels, the demand for AMTs is greater than ever before. So, how dire is the shortage?

This month, we take a closer look at the demand for aircraft mechanics and why now is the best time to train for an airframe and powerplant (A&P) certification at Vaughn.

Soaring demand

According to Boeing’s Pilot and Technician Outlook 2022-2041, the industry will need as many as 610,000 new civil maintenance technicians over course of the next 20 years. That’s an even greater demand than for new pilots (excluding business aviation), which is projected to reach a need of 602,000 during the same time frame. Adding pilots to the workforce is useless without also adding maintenance technicians. How do you capitalize on this surging demand? If becoming an aviation maintenance technician interests you, then Vaughn’s A&P certificate program can be your ticket to this futureproof career.

What is the role of an aircraft mechanic?

Essentially, aircraft mechanics oversee the operations of various types of aircraft—which include jets and helicopters—by maintaining and repairing their systems and components. Just imagine: For every flight that lands in the United States, there is a crew of aircraft mechanics who must inspect the plane and sign off on each protocol to make sure that every facet of its mechanics is working properly and efficiently before it can take flight again. Without these highly skilled professionals, planes cannot fly. Talk about an in-demand career!

How Vaughn can get you there in as little as 16 months

At Vaughn’s Aviation Training Institute (ATI) students are trained to become aircraft mechanics. Vaughn’s Aviation Maintenance (Airframe and Powerplant) certificate and Aviation Maintenance Associate in Occupational Science are approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. What could this decision mean for your future? Check out these amazing benefits of a career in aviation maintenance:

  • Great starting salary and overtime – AMTs in New York can earn up to $37 per hour in just their first year and have many opportunities for overtime.
  • Flight benefits – AMTs can receive discounted or even free flights, depending on the employer.
  • Sectors of aviation – in addition to working in commercial, general (e.g., personal, business or emergency transport) or military aviation, AMTs can also work in other sectors such as theme parks or wind turbines.
  • Keeping people safe – at the end of the day, AMTs keep airplanes running smoothly which saves lives.
  • Opportunities for growth, continued learning and advancement – the aviation industry is constantly evolving and expanding as new technology is developed, which creates a continuous pipeline new jobs and opportunities. There is no limit to where this career can take you, as long as you work hard and continue to hone your skills.

Want to know what it takes to become an aircraft mechanic? Check out our blog, “A Day in the Life of an Aviation Maintenance Technician.”

What’s the next step?

What are your plans for the future? As noted above, Vaughn’s ATI program can prepare you for a job in the aviation industry in as little as 16 months. Learn more about this exciting opportunity at our Aviation Maintenance Info. Session on Thursday, December 15 at 6 p.m. We hope to see you there!

The management department at Vaughn College welcomed the Honorable Christopher Hart, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)(Ret.) and founder of Hart Solutions, LLP to its Industry Insights Speaker Series, sponsored by ATL Partners. Hosted by Dr. Maxine Lubner and Adjunct Professor Loretta Alkalay, Hart discussed the vulnerabilities of automation as he took the audience through serious—and in some cases tragic—journeys of several accidents where automation met human operation. At this event, students learned the importance of safety in all forms of transportation as well as how the benefits of earning Vaughn’s Safety Management Systems Certificate can start them on their way to a futureproof career.

About Christopher Hart

For nearly 50 years, Christopher Hart’s stellar expertise as a lawyer, pilot and government official has earned him a sterling reputation as an expert in the transportation safety industry. After working at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), he returned to the NTSB, having previously served there for several years. In 2009, he was sworn in as a member, where he held several positions. Five years later, President Barack Obama nominated Hart to serve as the agency’s thirteenth chairman—a position he held until 2017. Hart holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in aeronautical engineering from Princeton University, and a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School.

Notable Accidents in Transportatio­­n

Metro Collision, Washington, DC—2009

Hart opened the discussion with the metro collision of 2009 in Washington, DC, which he described as a failure of automation. At that time, Hart said there was “some automation” in place and explained how a defect in the system’s design led to the fatal train collision. Here’s what transpired. First, Hart began by describing a dispatch board that shows the entire transit system and where the trains are located. A defect in the system resulted in a train on the tracks being “electronically invisible”—which gave no warning to the second train traveling miles behind it that there was another train ahead. Thinking that the rail was clear, the operator of the second train accelerated as it approached a curve. As it made its way around this curve, the operator saw the first train and applied the emergency brakes. Tragically, it was too late and the operator and eight passengers were killed. Working at the NTSB at the time of this accident, Hart said there is a lesson to be learned.  “Automation needs to assume reality,” he said. “The software should have picked up that the train was there. The failure is obvious. If the signal disappeared, then still assume the train is still in place.”

Human Factors “Error Trap” in Strasbourg, France—1992

Hart described this tragic airplane crash in Strasbourg, France as “fascinating”—because the fate of the passengers and crew came down to a simple decimal point. Wondering how that could be? Here are the details of the crash. As he began, Hart outlined several risk factors of the flight which he described as an “accident waiting to happen.”

These were the situational risk factors:

  • Flight occurred at night
  • Mountainous terrain
  • No ground radar
  • No ground-based ground slope guidance
  • No airborne terrain alerting equipment

Although the plane was equipped with a sophisticated autopilot, Hart claimed it was “autopilot ambiguity” that caused the crash. Here’s what happened: While preparing for landing, the pilot programmed the autopilot system incorrectly by not including a decimal point in the speed at which the plane should descend. The correct programming should have been “3.2” in the window—which means to descend at a 3.2-degree angle (about 700 feet per minute at 140 knots). Instead, the pilot failed to include the decimal point and entered “32” (without the decimal point) in the window, which indicated that the plane should descend at 3,200 feet per minute.

Due to this gross error—in addition to flying at night—the pilots didn’t know they were approaching the ground as quickly as they were and crashed before reaching the airport. “This is a textbook example of threats and errors,” he said. “We need to correct situations that can lead to mistakes. In this case, a simple decimal point was the difference between life and death.” So, what could have prevented this accident? Hart said the industry needs the human factor in situations like this: Experts who will fly in a simulator to help investigators understand what happened. He continued by emphasizing how a proactive flight data recorder readout program could have helped safety experts identify this problem before the crash.

Landing on the Hudson: Unanticipated Circumstances—2009

The landing of U.S. Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River—or more popularly known as the “Miracle on the Hudson”—will go down in aviation history as one of the most remarkable landings in our lifetime. Here is what happened:

On January 15, 2009, the Airbus A320 was on its regularly scheduled flight from New York City to Charlotte and Seattle when it struck a flock of birds shortly after takeoff—causing all the engines to lose power. Unable to reach an airport, pilots Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles had to make a split-second decision to attempt a water landing in the river without any power. The pilots were unaware that the plane was equipped with phugoid damping, which inhibited three and one-half degrees of nose-up alpha during flare. This resulted in a higher vertical speed upon impact. Hart—who says this landing is not a miracle at all—credits several factors for the successful outcome that resulted in no fatalities. Some of these factors included:

  • Good engine design
  • A robust system
  • Well-trained pilots

He stated in this particular situation, stick and rudder skills and discipline played major roles in the successful outcome of this accident. “We need to train commercial pilots with these skills,” Hart said. “For this accident, the human factor was the most reliable.” As amazing as this water landing was, Hart said had the pilots known of the phugoid damping, it may have reduced damaged and injuries.

Hart’s Final Thoughts

Hart concluded his presentation with some closing thoughts on automation in aviation:

  • Automation has a proven track record of benefits.
  • As automation becomes more reliable, complex and capable, the challenges will increase—both when the automation is not functioning as designed, as well as when it is functioning properly.
  • Automation failure is rare. Problems are more likely to be related to human factors and/or unanticipated circumstances.
  • Checklists will face many of the same challenges as automation since they are simply operator-enabled automation.

A management or aviation degree can prepare you for an exciting and in-demand career. Here’s how Vaughn can get you there.

Vaughn’s Aviation and Management Programs

Vaughn offers a range of bachelor’s, master’s, associate and certificate programs in aviationmanagement and aviation maintenance. As a leading institution in these industries, the College is setting the pace by providing its students with the skills they need to land jobs in these in-demand fields. Are you ready to pursue your futureproof career? Discover the possibilities of a lifelong career through one of our programs. Apply today!