Purdue University Global expands professional flight degree program with Lunken Flight Training Center partnership

WEST LAFAYETTE — Purdue University Global and Cincinnati-based Lunken Flight Training Center have formed a partnership to address the projected global and regional demand for aviation professionals over the next 20 years.

“We are pleased to join forces with an established flight training center like Lunken to bolster our popular professional flight program,” said Sara Sander, Purdue Global vice president and dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the School of Education. “Cincinnati is a major Midwest aviation hub and will provide flexibility and opportunities for many of our students.”

Sara Sander 

According to Jay Schmalfuss, owner of Lunken Flight Training Center, Cincinnati is home to many corporate flight departments, including Procter & Gamble, Kroger, Cintas, and General Electric. Additionally, Amazon has undergone a huge expansion to its air hub at nearby Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, so a growing demand for professional pilots in the area is anticipated.

Jay Schmalfuss

“Lunken Flight Training Center is excited to announce its affiliation with Purdue University Global,” Schmalfuss said. “Cincinnati is located within 600 miles of over half the population of the U.S., which makes Purdue Global and Lunken Flight Training Center the perfect choice to launch an aviation career.”

Purdue Global’s professional flight degree program is a collaboration between Purdue Global and Purdue University’s School of Aviation and Transportation Technology – announced in June 2019. It combines the quality of Purdue’s legendary aviation program spanning more than six decades with the flexibility and affordability that Purdue Global offers.

Students accepted into the program will complete their Bachelor of Science degree courses online through Purdue Global, which includes aviation and general education classes while completing professional flight training at Lunken Flight Training Center or one of several other Purdue Global affiliates across the country. During flight training, students will work toward earning certificates and ratings in instrument, commercial, multi-engine, and certified flight instructor.

As students progress in their flight training to become certified flight instructors, they will have the foundation necessary to serve as flight instructors and accrue additional flight experience required by airlines and corporate flight departments to get hired as professional pilots. Upon reaching certified flight instructor status, students enrolled in the program can begin teaching others and earn compensation for their work, in addition to flight hours, which can help with education costs and living expenses.

Purdue’s School of Aviation and Transportation Technology, one of six departments and schools in the Purdue Polytechnic Institute, is recognized worldwide as a leader in aviation education and provides its expertise in curriculum development, faculty hiring and accreditation by the Aviation Accreditation Board International.

As U.S. airline pilots approach the federally mandated retirement age of 65, combined with many pilots taking early retirement during the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry faces a shortage of pilots in the coming years. The Purdue Global program is designed to get students flying immediately, shortening the timeline to becoming a professional pilot in order to meet the growing demand.