Next semester, students pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautics with a concentration in Flight Science-Professional Pilot at Saint Louis University’s Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology will be given the chance to fly globally. Students will be able to more easily pursue European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Certification in addition to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Certification.
EASA Certification will allow prospective pilots to fly aircraft over European territories while FAA certification is required to fly aircraft over U.S. airspace. The high training standards in theory and practice will prepare students to qualify for European certification with minimal transitional training, Professor Stephen Belt, an instructor in General Aviation Science, said.
“That obviously makes them [students] far more attractive and competitive in the international market,” Belt said.
While the degree usually calls for four years of study on the main campus, this program will allow students to spend their freshman year at the Madrid campus, he said. The department is also considering a “Senior Year Component” that would involve students returning to Madrid for their last year, but details are forthcoming, he said.
“Graduates will be well positioned to pursue their career aspirations internationally,” Belt said. The program allows students to have a better study abroad experience because the education is in an international setting, he said.
Belt hopes to attract international students to the campus’ local Flight Science program, he said.
“Offering course work in Madrid opens the program up to international students who are seeking flight training and education,” Belt said.
Some students are uncertain of how this program’s itinerary would affect a participant’s relationships with other students. The process of moving from one campus to another twice may be jarring, Susanne Schmidt, a senior international student, said.
“It’s like you spend one year in Madrid, make friends and then lose all of your friends, go [to SLU] for two years, get your connections here [and] go back for your last year—it’s kind of depressing,” Schmidt said.
Going to Madrid freshman year is aggressive, but it will still be possible to go abroad as a sophomore or a junior, Belt said.
“It would be done as kind of a special topics; it’s certainly a possibility,” Belt said.
The department is hoping for five to 12 applicants for the program in Madrid, along with 25 to 30 at the main campus.
The option was created in a joint operation between Aviation Science faculty members at the main campus and faculty at the Madrid campus. Belt said that it was a response to calls for greater training and new pilots.
“We created the Global Flight Science degree to elevate the educational and training standards in the international level,” he said.