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Aeronautical engineer replacing engine parts of an aircraft.

Top U.S. aviation universities: an interview with Lincoln Land Community College


We interviewed Dave Pietrzak, Program Director of Aviation at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield, Illinois, to find out more about the training organisation’s courses, history, alumni and more. Find out everything you need to know below.

An interview with Lincoln Land Community College

ACS: Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, Dave! First off, what courses do you offer aviation and aeronautics students?

LLCC: Currently we offer mechanics courses that emphasise hands-on experience with the repair and maintenance of powerplants and airframes. We also offer Aviation Management, covering topics such as Basic Air Traffic Control and Industry Regulations.


ACS: What makes LLCC’s courses for aviation and aeronautics unique?

LLCC: LLCC has a smaller student-to-instructor ratio, which offers lots of opportunity for one-on-one time. Students can meet the requirements for either Airframe or Powerplant ratings in as little as 10 months, or 18 months for both.


ACS: How long has the LLCC aviation school been in operation?

LLCC: We have been in operation since 2001.


ACS: Introduce us to some of the faculty staff – any noteworthy names/achievements?

LLCC: We have a group of six instructors with various backgrounds. Four of them have previously worked at the local MRO working with Lear Jets, Falcons and Hawkers, to name a few. Two instructors have military aviation backgrounds – one works mainly with helicopters and the other with fighter jets.


ACS: How many students do you take on each year?

LLCC: We are certificated to train 50 students at a time. We have three classes running at the same time and students can start in August or January.


ACS: How long are each of the courses?

LLCC: Our Airframe and Powerplant program can be completed in 18 months – the optional Associate in Applied Science degree requires an additional semester. Our Associate in Applied Science in Aviation Management takes around two years.


ACS: As one of the top colleges for aviation and aeronautics, we’re guessing there are many aircraft lovers at LLCC. Care to let us in on your favourite aircraft?

LLCC: We are based in an area where students can branch out into various types of aviation. There are some students who are fascinated by commercial aircraft, while others are more interested in smaller general aviation-style aircraft. Then there are students that only want to work on private jets. There are so many different opinions.


ACS: What are you most excited about when it comes to the future of aviation?

LLCC: To see how the ever-advancing world of technology is going to be applied in aircraft; the advancement of composite materials and how they will be used; and mostly to see the opportunities that are going to become available to future students.


ACS: How is LLCC preparing its students for the future of the industry?

LLCC: During the time that students spend with us they get experience working with each system used in aircraft. We also have smaller class sizes, which gives the students more opportunity for one-on-one time with instructors and more hands-on time with aircraft.


ACS: Do you offer any bursaries, scholarships or special entrance options?

LLCC: LLCC has multiple scholarships offered to students. These scholarships are from local EAA chapters and families in aviation (memorial scholarships).


ACS: Do you have any partnerships with notable companies in the industry? If so, can you give us a quick summary?

LLC: The local MRO offers our students internships so that they can get a feel for what it’s like to work in the industry. The internship is paid and has a flexible schedule. Once students are near completion of their Airframe coursework, the MRO will hire them on a part-time basis, and once the student has completed our program, they might be offered full-time employment. There are several other aviation businesses that also have our students helping out.


ACS: If there was one piece of advice you could give to prospective aviation and aeronautics students, what would it be?

LLCC: Remember that opportunities are everywhere. Put in the effort of applying and interviewing and you will find what you want, where you want. Some places are even offering sign-on bonuses and excellent benefits. The jobs are out there!


ACS: For LLCC alumni, what’s the most common career path?

LLCC: MROs, FBOs, airlines and agricultural aerial operators. Our graduates have reached every branch of aviation.


ACS: How should students go about applying to LLCC’s aviation school?

LLCC: The process is simple. They can apply to LLCC (www.llcc.edu/apply), schedule a visit with us, complete our new student orientation and register for classes. The sooner the better!


ACS: Anything else you would like to add about your aviation courses or the industry itself?

LLCC: Today’s mechanics are an aging workforce that is close to retirement. The time to get in is now.


Are you looking to start a career in aeronautics or aviation? Speak to us about applying for a course and we’ll do our best to provide some helpful advice. ACS also provides aviation and flying scholarships for many of the best aviation institutions in the U.K. and around the world. Find out more on our Aviation Scholarships and Student Grants page.

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