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Aviation careers take flight for ASU alumni

March 12, 2007

ASU's Department of Aeronautical Management Technology (AMT) is celebrating the recent successes of its alumni. In January, nine graduates were hired as jet pilots for major regional carriers after graduating in December.

The nine alumni were students in the department's Airline Bridge Training Program, which is an alliance between ASU and Mesa Air Group's Pilot Development. Students in the program prepare to fly for Mesa Air Group, one of the largest regional airlines in the country. Successful graduates of the program and qualified students are guaranteed an interview with the carrier upon graduation. It is the largest graduating class that has been hired by this carrier. Additionally, one alumnus was hired on as a pilot for Atlantic Southeast Airlines.

The new airline pilots include Meagan Bergmann from Cedar City, Ia.; Matt Butcher from Newbury Park, Calif.; Larry Hanna from Mesa, Ariz.; Mike Jewell from New Milford, Conn.; Jeremy Mallia from Mesa, Ariz.; Carleton McQueen from Chino Hills, Calif.; Shelby Miller from Payson, Ill.; William Moya from New York City; and Marcus Sandel from Phoenix.

The Airline Bridge Training Program is the only program of its type in the United States where the potential employing airline oversees the flight training using the airline's procedures and disciplines, and the university conducts all the academics using the same in-depth airline procedures during the four-year degree program.

A key component of the Airline Bridge Training Program is that the students complete their training in the department's FRASCA Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ-200) flight training device (FTD). In addition to earning all of their pilot ratings and certificates through multi-engine pilot, each student receives 100 hours of CRJ-200 systems and operations academics, 40 hours of CRJ-200 FTD instruction and four hours of CRJ full-motion simulator training. Upon completion of training, the students are awarded guaranteed interviews with Mesa Airlines for a pilot position.

“The graduates of the program are a resounding success, with many upgrading to captain in two years, which is unheard of in the industry,” said Pete Hayes, president of Mesa Pilot Development.

Mesa Air Group has hired essentially all successful graduates from the ASU program, with more than 45 graduates being hired by the airlines since the program began only a few years ago, and seven have already become captains.

Demand for pilots is only growing as the current workforce starts to retire, and competition increases for pilots from regional and light jet carriers, as well as from overseas and cargo carriers.

“Our program anticipates a growth rate in excess of 15 percent per year for the next few years,” said William McCurry, chair of the ASU Aeronautical Management Technology Department.