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UC Clermont Aviation Celebrates 25 Years


Free info session and fly-in will be held May 19.

Date: 5/2/2018 12:00:00 AM
By: Amanda Chalifoux
Phone: (513) 558-8199
Photos By: Danny Kidd

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UC Clermont Aviation Technology graduate Kaitlin Willhite
UC Clermont Aviation Technology graduate Kaitlin Willhite

From a young age, Kaitlin Willhite kept her eyes skyward. After all, her grandfather was a pilot, and she would pass summers vacationing in Michigan by watching aircraft above from a nearby military base. She eventually found the runway to reach her dreams at UC Clermont College, where she graduated with her associate degree in Aviation Technology this spring.

“I have always wanted to fly,” said Willhite, who will continue her studies at UC Clermont to earn her Bachelor of Applied and Technical Studies, a credential that will bring her one step closer to her goal of becoming a commercial airline pilot. “The small classes and flexible scheduling appealed to me, and the ability to stay and earn both my aviation and bachelor’s degree in four years was important to my personal and professional goals.”

While studying, Willhite also worked at Sporty’s Academy, highlighting a 25-year partnership between UC Clermont and Sporty’s that has allowed the college’s unique Aviation Technology program to become one of the top 10 pilot training programs in the nation. Sporty’s Academy is the educational division of Sporty’s Pilot Shop, the world’s largest provider of aviation educational resources and pilot supplies. Sporty’s Academy is a Federal Aviation Administration-approved pilot school and headquartered at the Clermont County Airport in Batavia, Ohio — less than a mile from the Clermont College campus.

“The 25th anniversary of UC Clermont's aviation program is a great example of a private/public partnership,” said Dean Jeff Bauer. “The support of Sporty's Academy, and founders Hal and Sandy Shevers, have helped make this program among the best in the country. We are proud to continue to offer such an opportunity to students and our community.”

Aviation Instructor Eric Radtke said that like Wilkins, most students — there are typically about 60 in the program at any given time — go on to earn bachelor’s degrees while working as flight instructors at Sporty’s Academy, acquiring up to 800 hours of flight experience by graduation. This unique skill set allows graduates to succeed in a variety of aviation career paths.

The professional pilot training program also offers a variety of valuable experiential learning opportunities through partnerships and affiliations. Partners include ABX Air, CommutAir, Executive Jet Management, Kroger, PSA Airlines and Procter & Gamble. And with a large number of pilots reaching the mandatory retirement age, Radtke said, demand is high for new professionals in the sky.

Those interested in UC Clermont’s Aviation Program can attend a free information session and fly-in on Saturday, May 19 from 12-2 p.m. at the UC Clermont Aviation Campus, Clermont County Airport, 2001 Sportys Dr., Batavia, Ohio 45103. The session includes an aviation campus tour, an opportunity to view aircraft and meet program instructors. Sporty’s will also hold its remodel grand opening and a free grill-out for attendees. RSVP: https://admissions.catalyst.uc.edu/register/AVTN.