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By Jeff Hignett
Western's commercial aviation program now has a first a student with a commercial pilot's license.
Rob Lindsay, a third-year commercial aviation student, has gained his commercial pilot's license through the unique and innovative program. "The license allows you to fly any non-high performance airplanes essentially, it allows you to fly professionally," Lindsay said, adding the rest of the third-year class will likely have their commercial licenses by May.
"This is a significant event for the program," said Keith Fleming, Western's director of administrative and commercial studies.
The integrated commercial pilot's license program is new to Canada Western offers the first and only program thus far and Lindsay is the first student to gain his license through the program, Fleming said.
"The first step is the private license," Fleming said, adding students earn the license in the first-year of the program. "The commercial license allows you to fly other people or goods for commercial purposes," he added.
The demands of the program led to a fairly high drop-out rate, Fleming said. There are currently only 10 students in the third-year of the program, compared to 21 in second-year and 34 in first-year, he said, noting the third-year class began this year with twice as many students.
"You have five full classes, plus ground school and flying, which is essentially two more classes," Lindsay said.
"In first-year, we get our pilot's license and after that, some students don't feel the need to continue," said Steve Talsma, a third-year student in the program.
Talsma has always wanted to fly and, with this program, has the opportunity to live out his childhood dream and get a university degree at the same time.
Lindsay chose the program because it encompasses many aspects of the aviation industry such as management and business on top of the flight training the students receive at the Empire Aviation flight training centre at the London International Airport.