Schools offer careers that take flight

Carson Aviation Academy is teaming up with Charter College to offer aviation degrees. This Cessna 172 is one of the places in the academy's fleet based at the Carson City Airport.

Carson Aviation Academy is teaming up with Charter College to offer aviation degrees. This Cessna 172 is one of the places in the academy's fleet based at the Carson City Airport.

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Those seeking a career in the skies now have a new option.

Charter College has partnered with Reno-Tahoe Helicopters and Carson Aviation Academy to offer Associate of Applied Science in Aviation degrees with programs in rotor or fixed-wing aircraft.

Reno-Tahoe Helicopters and Carson Aviation Academy have offered their respective flight schools for years. The partnership with Charter College opens doors for students to receive financial aid, as well as academic support services, and also provides a new stream of students for the aviation companies.

“Even with the pilot shortage, major airlines prefer pilots with degrees and an investment (beyond flight school),” said Kyle Beebe, director of business and program development at Charter College, which began its aviation program this year.

RTH and CAA are Part 141 certified flight schools. They provide the flight instruction — the physical skills. Charter College adds other classes that show how it all works together, Bebee said.

The 70-week aviation degree program includes nine aviation courses including navigation, aerodynamics, meteorology and physiology.

In addition, the program provides general education courses, and 250 flight hours for fixed wing, or 210 flight hours for rotor.

Carson Aviation Academy, owned by Steve Poscic, has operated its flight school out of the Carson City Airport since 2006.

Students in the Charter College program receive one-to-one training with an experienced flight instructor, as well as flight simulations.

Reno-Tahoe Helicopters is based at the Lake Tahoe Airport in South Lake Tahoe with a training facility at the Minden-Tahoe Airport. Owner Claudio Bellotto has taught helicopter piloting classes for 14 years, seven of those based at Lake Tahoe.

RTH specializes in mountain flight training, which teaches candidates how to deal with the unique challenges of high altitude operations.

Both businesses are waiting for their first students through Charter College, but Poscic said there are three or four students in line waiting on financing.

An aviation degree can open doors for careers in such diverse positions as airline pilot, freight pilot, private pilot, agricultural flying, aerial advertising, fire fighting, air ambulance, scenic tours, law enforcement, flight instruction, search and rescue, air taxi, and geological survey.

According to Boeing’s Long-Term Market report, “between 2015 and 2034, the world’s aviation system will require 558,000 new commercial airline pilots and 609,000 new commercial airline maintenance technicians.”

Whether an individual is interested in fixed-wing or rotor aviation is entirely a personal preference.

“Planes and helicopters are completely different beasts,” Bellotto said. “Helicopter flying is something you like or don’t like.”

But trained helicopter pilots may have an edge in building a career.

“There are more jobs as helicopter pilots,” Bellotto said. “There is a lot of competition for (airplane pilot) jobs.”

Charter College plans to offer additional aviation programs in the future, Beebe said, including drone programs.

For more information about Charter College’s aviation degree program, go to or call 877-862-3484.


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