Airline, college partner for Pilot Pipeline Program, jobs

Published on Monday, 28 October 2013 23:08 - Written by Staff Reports

LeTourneau University and American Eagle Airlines signed an agreement Monday to provide a pathway for selected LETU flight students to find employment with the company after graduation.

LETU President Dr. Dale A. Lunsford and American Eagle Captain Richard King agreed to collaborate “to facilitate a steady supply of airline-qualified pilots through specific recruitment, screening, selection, training and placement strategies for pilots to be employed by AEA.” The collaboration is known as the Pilot Pipeline Program, according to a university news release.

“LETU’s aviation program is built on excellence and on great partnerships,” Lunsford said, according to the news release. “Today we celebrate this new partnership with the airline that serves our own great community. It is a testament to the quality of the pilots our school produces.”

To be eligible for the program, a student must be at least a sophomore enrolled in the university’s professional aviation pilot program and have at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA and minimum 3.0 GPA in their cumulative aviation courses, according to the news release.

In addition, students must authorize the airline to review their academic, aeronautical and other university and Federal Aviation Administration records. They also must complete their commercial, instrument, multiengine certificates and ratings and Advanced Airtransport Pilot Curriculum at LeTourneau. They also must complete a list of tests and panel interviews. 

Once accepted, the program includes four phases.

The college will recommend and the airline will interview eligible students who elect to enter the pipeline program, where AEA and LETU will monitor their performance. Students will attend mentoring events at the academy and must satisfy program requirements to enter the next phase.

In the second phase, if LETU has a certified flight instructor position open the university will guarantee an interview for students in the program. Students must complete certain coursework for the opportunity to be hired as a pipeline instructor and be allowed to provide certified flight instruction services.

If LETU lacks a certified flight instructor position, the airline will try to place the candidate in the same position with another flight school affiliated with the pipeline program, according to the release.

Once the candidate is placed in a school as an instructor, AEA will enter into an employment agreement with the instructor to be an employee of American Eagle Airlines, and they will become eligible for health benefits and travel privileges.

In the third phase, once the pipeline instructor completes the FAA’s required flight hours for commercial passenger airline pilots and if the airline is hiring first officers, it will admit the pipeline instructor in AEA’s First Officer training program. 

The fourth phase of the agreement includes a guaranteed interview with American Airlines, which has agreed to grant interviews to all pilots hired by American Eagle after October 2011.