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Marshall set to host open house for Bill Noe Flight School

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Students interested in flying the skies through Marshall University’s Bill Noe Flight School will be able to learn more about the programs this weekend.

The flight school will host an open house for prospective students beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday at West Virginia International Yeager Airport in Charleston. The open house and growth of the school comes at a time when there is a nationwide pilot shortage.

David Pittenger

David Pittenger, a professor at Marshall and Academic Coordinator for the Bill Noe Flight School told MetroNews that attendees will be able to take a close-up look at Marshall’s training aircraft and see the facilities.

“The guests will be able to meet our current staff, instructors and students. They will be able to look at our airplanes, tour our facilities and we have a lot to show off,” he said.

The university’s Executive Aviation Specialist and school’s namesake, Bill Noe, as well as flight school faculty members, will be on hand to meet students and answer questions. Noe will make a presentation and show off the classrooms from 10:30 to 11:15 a.m.

Following the tours are prospective student meetings in classrooms where Pittenger said they can meet with representatives from admissions and financial aid. Prospective students can also meet with a physician who provides the aviation medical exam.

The afternoon session of the open house will feature tours of facilities including introductions to the Frasca Simulators, Cirrus SR20 and Piper Seminole PA-44 aircraft on site.

A limited number of attendees will be chosen to take a ride in one of the Marshall planes or on the vintage American Airlines DC-3 that will be on view at the airport that day, a release said.

The flight school opened for the fall 2021 semester, offering students a chance to earn a Commercial Pilot: Fixed Wing Bachelor of Science degree. The ground and flight courses also will lead to a series of FAA certifications, preparing graduates to become commercial pilots of single and multi-engine aircraft. In addition, on Wednesday, Marshall  and Mountwest Community and Technical College’s Aviation Maintenance Technology program received its formal FAA certification.

Pittenger said now is the time to enroll in the flight school as a pilot shortage has been highlighted in the past year. The shortage has resulted in the cancellation of dozens of flights daily and cut to regional routes.

Pittenger said that the school had 24 students in the first year and expects a larger class in year two — with 23 students ready for the fall semester and another dozen in the primary phases of applying.

When in full operation, the Bill Noe Flight School is expected to enroll more than 200 students and produce some 50 commercial pilots annually. Pittenger expects that to occur in ‘five to six years.’

“We have had two students go through their mandatory FAA certification for their private license. Both students passed with flying colors. We have many more students getting ready for that same checkrite,” Pittenger said to the successes of year one.

Pittenger noted the school expects to add two new aircraft this year , August and November, including a Cirrus SR20 and Piper Seminole PA-44.

Those interested in attending the July 2 event are asked to RSVP in advance by calling 304-696-5038 or emailing bnfs@marshall.edu.

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