Aviation fraternity raises money, highlights program

The smell of pancakes cooking on the griddle and the sound of “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins blaring over the loudspeakers welcomed visitors to the Eagle Flight Center at Willow Run Airport Saturday morning. Eastern Michigan University’s Alpha Eta Rho-Sigma Chi aviation fraternity hosted its annual pancake breakfast to exhibit unique aircrafts and highlight the university’s aviation program to the community and prospective future aviation specialists.

Chris Cakes of Michigan was on-site to flip up flapjacks for patrons, and proceeds for the event went toward the purchase of a new flight simulator for the training of the fraternity members.

Eastern’s aviation program, which offers a major and minor in aviation, is battling anonymity.

“We are here, there’s an aviation program,” said Tom Simon, President of Alpha Eta Rho. “Every day my classroom is inside of a plane.”

The program offers two specific majors, aviation flight technology and aviation management.

The EMU Flight Center is a Federal Aviation Administration accredited flight school. Students learn safety for flight, courses in training, aerodynamics, and specific laws that are needed to take the skies. The program also offers students to get a jump start during the summer months before their first year in the program, and over 96 percent of students pass their FAA exams on the first try.

The program, which has 135 students this year, had the highest amount of people enrolled in the program last year. Once a student completes the program, they become a Certified Flight Instructor. Aviation students must complete 1,500 hours of flight time to qualify for commercial jobs. “The first time I flew one of our airplanes I said to myself, ‘the students don’t know how fortunate they are having the opportunity to learn in such beautiful aircraft,’” said Colleen Redmond, director of marketing and recruitment for EMU aviation. “After all, our experience is relative to what we are use to. Some of the airplanes I flew when I was training was pretty scary.”
The program is open to anyone with an interest in aviation. Students can find out more information at EMUAviation.com or at Facebook.com/EMUAviation.

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