Col­lege to help train pilots, staff from China

China Daily (USA) - - ACROSS AMERICA - By PAUL WELITZKIN in New York paulwelitzkin@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

A Ten­nessee col­lege will part­ner with a new school in China to help the coun­try meet the de­mand for avi­a­tion pro­fes­sion­als.

Sid­ney McPhee, pres­i­dent of Mid­dle Ten­nessee State Univer­sity (MTSU), opened ne­go­ti­a­tions with Jiangsu Avi­a­tion Tech­ni­cal Col­lege in Jiangsu prov­ince af­ter a visit to the fledgling school last month.

“Our avi­a­tion/aero­space pro­gram is ar­guably one of the best in the US,” McPhee said in an in­ter­view. “We look for­ward to work­ing with Jiangsu Avi­a­tion Tech­ni­cal Col­lege to help China train its next gen­er­a­tion of pilots, air traf­fic con­trollers and air­craft me­chan­ics.”

China’s cen­tral gov­ern­ment is ex­pected to open the gen­eral avi­a­tion space to pri­vate en­ter­prise, which will cre­ate a de­mand for aero­space fa­cil­i­ties and trained per­son­nel. Jiangsu of­fi­cials an­tic­i­pate as many as 500 air­ports will be built in the next five years and more than 3,000 within 10 years.

Brian Fo­ley, an avi­a­tion in­dus­try con­sul­tant in the US, said many have pre­dicted ex­plo­sive avi­a­tion growth in the main­land for 30 years. “Given the re­al­ity of the world­wide econ­omy, it will real­is­ti­cally be a more mod­er­ate growth than some are pre­dict­ing. How­ever, this is not nec­es­sar­ily a bad thing since in the long run mod­er­ate growth will be more sus­tain­able than over­heated growth,” he wrote in an email.

Fo­ley said China will re­quire more pro­fes­sion­als trained in avi­a­tion spe­cial­ties. “Per­son­nel must in­crease in pro­por­tion to the grow­ing fleet of air­craft. As an ex­am­ple there is a cur­rent need for ex­pe­ri­enced me­chan­ics, pilots and skilled fac­tory tech­ni­cians that will con­tinue for years,” he added.

MTSU of­fers bach­e­lor’s and mas­ter’s de­grees in avi­a­tion/ aero­space stud­ies that have about 600-800 stu­dents. “We are pre­par­ing to grad­u­ate our first class in a new pro­gram for un­manned aerial sys­tems (drones),” McPhee said.

Jiangsu Avi­a­tion Tech­ni­cal Col­lege will open this fall with an en­roll­ment of 600 stu­dents and six aero­space de­gree pro­grams. The cen­tral gov­ern­ment built the cam­pus to han­dle many times that ini­tial en­roll­ment in a large area lo­cated in an aero­space re­search park.

McPhee said the part­ner­ship will in­clude a com­bi­na­tion of re­cip­ro­cal ex­changes for stu­dents, fac­ulty and ad­min­is­tra­tors be­tween the two schools. He toured sev­eral of the new col­lege’s fa­cil­i­ties, in­clud­ing a Boe­ing 737 cabin sim­u­la­tor that will be used to train stu­dents on pas­sen­ger safety and ser­vice.

MTSU has ex­change pro­grams with other Chi­nese col­leges. McPhee said about 200 Chi­nese stu­dents are study­ing on the MTSU cam­pus.

Mid­dle Ten­nessee State Univer­sity is in Murfrees­boro, about 34 miles south of Nashville, the state cap­i­tal. The school has an en­roll­ment of about 23,000 stu­dents.

Jiangsu is a coastal Chi­nese prov­ince north of Shang­hai with a pop­u­la­tion of nearly 80 mil­lion.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Of­fi­cials from the newly cre­ated Jiangsu Avi­a­tion Tech­ni­cal Col­lege in Zhen­jiang, East China’s Jiangsu prov­ince, show Mid­dle Ten­nessee State Univer­sity Pres­i­dent Sid­ney McPhee a Boe­ing 737 cabin sim­u­la­tor dur­ing a tour in July. The sim­u­la­tor will be used for stu­dent train­ing when the in­sti­tu­tion opens this fall.

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