They've got the flight simulators to teach practical piloting skills and an instructor to conduct flight school and develop the business side of being a commercial pilot, but students are a rare commodity in the College of New Caledonia's aviation program.
Just one student has applied for the program for 2013-14 and there's only one student currently taking aviation business courses, and that's not flying well with a college that faces $1 million budget deficit in 2013-14. Although CNC has not officially announced its plans for the two-year aviation business diploma program, there's a strong likelihood it will be canceled.
"We've only ever had one student," said Randall Heidt, CNC's director of communications and development. "You're paying a faculty member, you're paying administration and you're paying advertising and we only had one student. Given the extremely low numbers, it would be irresponsible for the college not to look at the cost of delivering the aviation program in Vanderhoof during this time of fiscal restraint and a projected $1 million budget shortfall. However, no official decision on the future of the aviation program has been made.
The future of the program will be discussed by the college board of directors on Friday and on March 22 and final decisions on the budget will be announced following the April 26 board meeting. The 20-month program was introduced last year, based at the Vanderhoof campus. The college developed the business component of the program after a CNC survey determined the industry is looking for pilots who have management training.
Tuition for the program is $62,700, which includes $50,000 for flight training provided by Guardian Aerospace of Vanderhoof. Each student receive 200 hours of flying time and 80 hours in the two Redbird computerized flight simulators, located in Vanderhoof. If the program is canceled, Heidt said the college will consider using the flight simulators, worth a combined $165,000, as part of CNC's continuing education program.