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Texas State Technical College to close Air Academy

Published On: Feb 20 2014 08:18:15 PM CST   Updated On: Feb 21 2014 08:51:10 AM CST
ABILENE, Texas -

Texas State Technical College is closing their Air Academy on April 30.

Dixon Bailey from TSTC said it's because the program was not meeting their mission, which is to help students earn high-scale, high-wage jobs upon completion of their courses.

After 12 years of offering the Aircraft Pilot Training Program, Bailey said their research backs the decision.

"What we found over the years is that our APT or Aircraft Pilot Training program, more students were utilizing it to obtain themselves a private pilot license, which is definitely needed, but as far as our mission it doesn't fit with them actually taking that certification on to employment," Bailey said.

When it comes to the aircraft they were using to train the students, Bailey said that inventory will be put to good use enhancing another program at the college.

"One thing we're really excited about is that we have a dual engine aircraft," Bailey said. "The inventory will be transferred to our aircraft maintenance training program."

Bailey said cutting the program won't be too big of an impact on enrollment because it's considered a continuing education program, not a four-credit, degree-seeking program.

If you were wondering where you can go for flying lessons now, Elmdale Airpark is still open for business.

Sam Hunt, the owner of Elmdale Airpark and Big Country Aviation, said even with the expected influx in business, he would still prefer to work with TSTC.

"Whenever you take away an entity like that from a small town like this, general aviation just became smaller and I'm really saddened by that," Hunt said.

If you'd like to register for classes at the Elmdale Airpark, call them at (325) 677-2488 or visit them at 4682 Newman Road in Abilene.