Legacy Aviation Learning Center has earned FAA certification as an approved Aviation Maintenance Technician School (AMTS).

The non-profit school, which borders Cherry Capital Airport (KTVC), is the vision of its co-founders, Dan and Peg Jonkhoff and Matt and Lauren Golba, who are all pilots.

The new school is supported primarily by the founders and buoyed by an American Rescue Plan Act grant for $500,000 from the Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners.

“We are part of the pandemic recovery,” said Peter Lane, executive director and CEO of Legacy Aviation Learning Center. “We are training the men and women who will fill the essential job openings negatively impacted by COVID-19, developing our local community, keeping the U.S. economy running, and ensuring America remains first in aviation worldwide.”

While most AMTS programs are 18 to 24 months long, Legacy Aviation offers a 12-month timeline that accelerates a student’s trajectory into the workforce, according to officials.

Applications are being accepted now through Dec. 15, 2023, for the inaugural 25-member class, which is set to begin in January 2024.

“By the end of year three, we could be looking at 50 to 100 student seats available,” noted Lane.

The $35,000 cost to attend covers tuition, fees, Snap-On aviation specialty tools, textbooks, and learning management software. Financial aid is available, officials added.

Kalitta Air donated a Boeing 727-100 to the new school, Lane noted, adding students will work closely with Kalitta’s maintenance facilities team in Oscoda, Michigan, on heavy equipment, “ensuring career readiness.”