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Professional Fixed Wing Pilot

Lake Area Tech’s new 18-month Professional Fixed Wing Pilot Associate of Applied Science degree is designed for students interested in a career in the professional pilot industry. The program will prepare individuals to apply technical knowledge and skills to the field of aviation relative to employment as a professional fixed-wing pilot. Students will be trained in the areas of: aerodynamics, private pilot simulation, private pilot flight training, private pilot ground school, aviation safety, federal air regulations, instrument rating ground/simulation/flight, commercial pilot ground/flight training, instrument instructor ground/flight training, airspace systems, airspace operations, and flight instructor ground/flight training.  Professional pilots often own and manage their own business however, other career possibilities include employment in the following areas: aerial survey, aerial photography, corporate aviation, cargo, air ambulance, aerial application, and with airlines.

The Professional Fixed Wing Pilot program will include a combination of classroom instruction, simulation lab experiences, and flight training. The program will also utilize the Watertown Regional Airport and Lake Area Tech training facilities for flight training.

How does our program prepare students for a pilot career? We instill the three golden rules of piloting: aviate, navigate, and communicate – in that order.

Pilots learn this concept from the beginning of their training and take it with them for the duration of their career.  The uniqueness of Lake Area Tech’s pilot training program is how we teach the first of these three, AVIATE, using simple aircraft with widely-varying flight characteristics that will make our pilots more skilled and ultimately safer, giving you an edge by attracting employers to your resume.

How does this happen?  From the very beginning of the first semester students will be immersed in a training experience in aircraft that include simple, high-wing, tailwheel airplanes and motorgliders.  These aircraft demand the use of the rudder pedals more than other programs using more conventional aircraft.  Equally important, the use of gliders teaches elements of decision-making, aircraft control, and “reading the environment” that provide priceless pilot training experiences.  All this happens in the first semester!  And then it’s off to the second semester… – NAVIGATE(ing) – COMMUNICATE(ing).

The Professional Fixed-Wing Pilot program works closely with an industry advisory board composed of representatives from the aviation industry and potential employers.

*Please note, as the program is new some information is subject to change.

Students in programs which customarily lead to professional licensure are responsible for determining whether or not this program or course meets requirements for licensure in the state in which the student resides or intends to reside upon graduation. We encourage you to contact the licensure agency noted above for additional information or the program faculty for assistance.

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Unmanned Aerial Systems Pilot Option

Beginning in 2023, students in the Professional Fixed Wing Pilot program can opt into the new Unmanned Aerial Systems Pilot option. This option will prepare graduates to pursue careers operating large unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly referred to as drones, beyond the visual line of sight and in controlled air spaces. The program option has been designated an Unmanned Aircraft Systems-Collegiate Training Initiative program by the Federal Aviation Administration. That distinction means graduates earning a degree with this option will have access to a professional consortium that facilitates sharing best practices in this industry through UAS training tools, resources, and guidelines. Read more here. 

More information regarding the UAS option curriculum will be posted here when it is finalized. 


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