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.
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.
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.”