Paragon Flight Training, based at Page Field in Fort Myers, Florida, is partnering with Georgia-based LaGrange College to start the school’s first program in aviation. The announcement of the Professional Pilot Training Program was jointly made by Paragon Flight Training President Chris Schoensee and LaGrange College President Susanna Baxter.
Beginning in the fall 2023 semester, LaGrange College students will be able to attend classes that ultimately lead to a minor in aviation using Paragon Flight’s Professional Pilot Program (P3). The program is specifically designed to allow students to pursue other majors while simultaneously preparing for dynamic careers as commercial airline pilots, private charter pilots, cargo pilots or other engaging professional pilot pathways. Unlike other higher education aviation programs, LaGrange aviation students can fly aircraft during their freshman year.
P3 flight training includes the use of an advanced avionics flight simulator on campus and access to a modern fleet of Technically Advanced Aircraft (TAA) at nearby LaGrange-Callaway Airport, allowing LaGrange student to maximize their training experience with digital avionics “glass cockpits” and other systems similar to those they will use in a professional pilot career. Upon completion of P3, students will be positioned to receive a commercial pilot license.
The introduction of the program gives LaGrange College students a new career option at a time when the commercial pilot shortage continues to be a pressing issue in the aviation industry. Recent reports note that over the next 15 years, more than half of current U.S. pilots will have reached the mandatory retirement age of 65.
“We look at this partnership with Paragon Flight as an important milestone in creating new educational and career opportunities for LaGrange College students,” Baxter said. “The option to pursue an aviation minor is going to open doors for students who may not have previously considered a career in flight.”
In addition to LaGrange College, Paragon Flight participates in flight training programs with Liberty University and Purdue University Global and has also operated a high school aviation program at Evangelical Christian School in Fort Myers since 2014.