UMA To Offer Four Year Degree In Aviation Starting This Fall 

It’s the city where Maine’s first ever flight took off back in 1911 and where Amelia Earhart once visited nearly 80 years ago. So it seems only fitting that Augusta will be home to the state’s first 4-year aviation degree program.”It’s blue skies. No wind. Terrific crew. Can we agree this is a perfect day for a flight?” Augusta Senator Roger Katz told a crowd gathered at the Augusta Airport.The aviation program is a collaboration between the University of Maine at Augusta and Augusta based business, Maine Instrument Flight.With state money and resources scarce these days, the partnership is being touted as an example of how to do things as we move forward.”The good news is that it’s forcing us to be more creative with the dollars we do have in the state,” Katz said. “We have to seek out public private partnerships and that’s what’s happening here today.”The two sides announced the plan in front of, among others, potential students. Some of them were taken for a ride in one of the planes they’ll ultimately be flying, just to give them an idea of what they could be signing up for.”When our first class is ready to graduate, they will have not only the bachelors in aviation, but five FAA ratings which will open countless employment opportunities for our grads,” said Brenda McAleer, Dean of Studies at UMA.City and state officials say, offering a program like aviation makes Augusta a more attractive destination spot for students from around the world. Perhaps even to those students born and raised right here in Maine. Seth Hansen from Gardiner had gone out of state to study aviation, but couldn’t wait to study the same program right next to his hometown.”It worked out perfectly,” Hansen said Friday. “Right when I got home I found out this was going to happen. It almost joined up seamlessly.”The first classes take flight this fall.