The Sussex County Airport in Delaware became home to a new aviation maintenance education program a year ago. According to an agreement recently approved by the Sussex County Council, Delaware Technical & Community College now has a 30-year lease on a 1-acre parcel to construct a new hangar in order to expand its aviation maintenance program.
The school currently has in place a three-phase plan for expanding the three-year-old aviation maintenance program, which will eventually encompass three disciplines. The program just recently graduated its first group of students and Delaware Tech hopes to graduate many more in years to come.
The county views the agreement as a way to allow citizens of Sussex County to train and compete for aviation industry jobs they hope to create as they look to attract more aviation-related businesses. Their overall goal is to create a strong manufacturing base at the Sussex County Airport in order to strengthen their economy and workforce. As part of this goal, Sussex County, Delaware Tech, and PATS Aircraft LLC partnered to create the aviation maintenance associate degree at Delaware Tech.
The first step in creating the program was to establish the airframe mechanics curriculum which will be followed by power-plant mechanics and avionics technician curricula as the program expands. With the new facility, Delaware Tech will be able to construct classrooms and hangar area to allow students the space and tools necessary for the power plant technology program and eventually the avionics technology program.
Programs such as this one are an important step for the aviation industry as a whole, because without qualified mechanics and avionics technicians, pilots don’t have airworthy planes. Additionally, with the aviation industry set to expand exponentially in the next few decades, there is an ever expanding need for all types of trained aviation personnel such as pilots, mechanics, and dispatchers.