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Careers can soar thanks to Aviation Science
Photos and Story by James Hill
Mike Lane’s flying career took flight at PCC. Lane was hired last summer as a First Officer for SkyWest Airlines. He flies a 50-seat Bombardier CRJ 200 jet all over the West Coast, from Los Angeles to Colorado Springs and Vancouver, B.C. And, he’s a 2002 Portland Community College graduate.
"When I first took classes at PCC I was barely passing," Lane said. "I really didn’t know what I wanted to do or where was I going with it. Then I found out about the aviation science degree. It not only kept me in school, but I started to get good grades."
The Aviation Science Program offers interested students the chance to earn commercial helicopter or airplane pilot certificates while also earning an associate’s degree. In addition, the program features three types of courses: a ground school and flight courses at Hillsboro and Troutdale airports, and aviation academic courses at Rock Creek Campus and Southeast Center.
The associate’s degree also provides students like Lane the opportunity to earn a degree while getting the Federal Aviation Administration certificates needed to qualify for an entry-level position in the airline or helicopter industries.
Plus, students can transfer credit to some four-year schools to help toward a bachelor’s degree and thanks to an agreement with the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Extended Campus, students can earn a bachelor’s nearby at PDX.
PCC’s Aviation Science program can be a start to a whole new career whether in the airline or helicopter industries. For Lane, 25, he started out flying single-engine prop planes at Hillsboro Airport. Since his graduation he’s been a pilot for CommuteAir on the East Coast and a flight instructor for Hillsboro Aviation. He had been flying props all his life until he applied to SkyWest last spring and took a few months of training to be certified on the twin-engine regional jet. Now, he’s an integral part of the company’s commercial flights.
"I tell everyone how I did it," Lane said. "I was working and going to school at the same time to fuel my addiction to flying. I had a great time with it. I definitely would tell (new students) to get a hold of Larry Altree and talk to him. Flying is never the same. There is always something new and is very challenging."