Tulsa's Spartan College, Airline Partner To Fill Pilot Gap

Wednesday, February 12th 2014, 3:51 pm
By: Emory Bryan

A new partnership was announced Wednesday by Spartan College that will funnel their graduates into airline jobs, many of them at American Eagle.

They're calling it a pilot pipeline.

Spartan students start out in smaller cockpits, but can move on, in about three years, to the cockpit of a regional jet. And two years later, a guaranteed opportunity with American Airlines.

Charlie Noell is a new Spartan student from Chicago. He's 28, and believes now is the time to follow his dreams into the cockpit.

"It seems like a great time to be getting into aviation," Noell said.

Noell might be right. The airlines are hungry for new recruits and Spartan has a new deal to send their students directly into advanced training with American eagle airlines.

Spartan CEO, Peter Harris, said, "This provides students with an opportunity to advance in their career more quickly with more certainty."

Spartan will provide the basic flight training, with advanced simulators, and enough flight time to qualify for the airline.

Students selected for the program get a 10,000 bonus when they sign on for two years with American Eagle.

Nick Brice, an American Eagle recruiter said, "We like to try and get them hired on at a younger flight age so that then we can show them promise and show them future. Not only from Spartan to Eagle, but then also now on to American Airlines.

American Eagle wants all the pilot recruits that Spartan can provide and Noell hopes to be one of them.

"This is something you get in to because you love it, so you know if that's where your heart is you'll be happy," Noell said.

The program starts immediately. The school has 50 students now, but room for 150 students, in the pilot pipeline.