Aviation maintenance is not for the faint of heart. The one-year program crams in at least 1,900 hours of instruction in things like reciprocating engines, airframe inspection and metallic structures. But the unique offering has drawn students from all over the country.
All of the hands-on learning will still take place in the laboratories at the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport, but students can get about half of the classroom time they need in the comfort of their own homes.
Fred Dyen of Blue Ridge Community College said, "There's a lot of technical information that the student needs to learn about how to start an engine, what the rules of a particular airport are, that's book learning. That can be delivered very effectively through distance."
The FAA has given the college in Weyers Cave approval to start the online aviation maintenance classes in October. Registration has already begun.
In its first five years, the program has seen its graduates land jobs with Dynamic Aviation and Avotek, as well as companies all over the world. So far, 100 percent of the students have passed the federal exams that are required for careers in the industry.
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