Aviation department celebrates 50th anniversary

May 30, 2017


Staff Reporter | jes062@ latech.edu


To mark 50 years of flying here at Louisiana Tech, the aviation department will have a celebratory weekend.


The Aviation Festival (AVFEST) 2017 Awards Banquet will be at the Davison Athletics Complex April 29.


Brock Blackwell, a senior in professional aviation and a Spanish double major with a minor in aviation management, said he is looking forward to the event-filled weekend.


“AVFEST is a great opportunity for professional aviation and aviation management students to meet alumni of the program who are currently in the field,” Blackwell said. “Speaking with these aviation professionals helps guide Louisiana Tech students and hopefully give them an idea of what they want to do in the future.”


He said there will be a great State of the Industry meeting April 29 where the alumni and faculty answer any questions that students or parents have about the aviation industry.


“Getting a personal perspective from people who were once in your shoes is invaluable, and learning about all the different job opportunities that are out there is really amazing,” Blackwell said. “The best part is that everyone gets to learn more about aviation through meeting alumni while they eat great food at our jambalaya cook-off and the Burger Burn at the airport.”


Jordan Lyons, the chair of the department of professional aviation, explained all that is going to occur at AVFEST 2017.


“The department of professional aviation is excited for the upcoming AVFEST weekend gathering for aviation students, staff, faculty and alumni from April 28-29,” Lyons said. “The weekend will begin with an alumni cocktail reception with (Tech president Les) Guice and a jambalaya cook-off social at the Argent Pavilion.”


He said the event will allow everyone to eat some great food, visit with friends and network with alumni.


“The other weekend activities include an alumni State of the Aviation Industry presentation, various alumni and committee meetings and a formal scholarship banquet in the Davison Athletics Complex,” Lyons said. “The awards presented include academic scholarships, Professional Aviation and Aviation Management Student of the Year, Flight Instructor of the Year and several others.”


He said their graduate placement rate has remained at 100 percent for the past eight years, they maintain the only two AABI accredited Bachelor of Science programs in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas, and the state of Louisiana approved the complete replacement of the existing aircraft fleet.


“This new equipment will incorporate G1000 avionics with ADS-B In/Out capability and will arrive in summer 2017,” Lyons said.


As reported on Textron Aviation’s webpage, Cessna Aircraft Company, a subsidiary of Textron Aviation Inc., a Textron Inc. company, announced it had selected the following university partners for the 2017 Top Hawk program: Eastern Kentucky University, The Ohio State University, Auburn University, Southern Illinois University Carbondale and Louisiana Tech University.


Don Kaczvinsky, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, wanted to remind all that aside from going new places, meeting new people and traveling for free just how lucrative of a field this industry is.


“We have a pipeline directly into the industry where they give a $10,000 signing bonus to graduating pilots,” Kaczvinsky said. “It’s a high -paying field where literally the sky is the limit.”


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