Horizon Air funds CWU pilot development program; donates $10K fl - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Horizon Air funds CWU pilot development program; donates $10K flight simulator

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ELLENSBURG, WA - Horizon Air and Central Washington University have signed an agreement to establish a pilot development program. This program is designed to recruit new students into CWU’s Professional Pilot program and provide students with an opportunity to fly as a First Officer/Pilot with Horizon Air.

Recently the Boeing Company estimated that the world will need 558,000 commercial airline pilots over the next 20 years—about 28,000 more pilots each year.

“With the looming pilot shortage, Horizon needs to partner with quality aviation programs, such as CWU, to enhance our recruiting strategy and ensuring the next generation of pilots look to Horizon as a place they can build their career in aviation,” said LaMar Haugaard, Horizon Air director of pilot development and recruiting.

The new pilot development program will permit up to 17 students to apply for and receive a stipend, administered by the CWU Foundation, to be used for training fees and expenses related to completing their Commercial Flight Instructor certificate. The students will then receive a conditional job offer from Horizon Air, which will commit them to a term of employment with the company.

This agreement also ensures that graduating students will serve in the CWU flight training facility as certified flight instructors until they accumulate 1,000 flight hours in their log book prior to joining Horizon Air. This arrangement serves well to have adequate flight instructors in place to train the incoming students at CWU.

Horizon has committed to the 2016 academic year and is already drawing up plans for 2017.

“Central was naturally our first choice for a university partner,” said Haugaard. “They have a top-notch program and graduate quality pilots right here in Washington state.”

“This is tremendous opportunity for our students,” said Sundaram Nataraja, chair and professor of the Department of Aviation. “Not only will they receive a generous stipend for their training fees, but they will also have a job offer from an airline waiting for them after completing their program.”

In addition to the pilot development program, Horizon Air donated a $10,000 flight simulator to CWU’s Flight Training Center.