A Vermont Apprentice Program Hopes To Launch Aviation Careers

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A nonprofit organization at Franklin County State Airport (KFSO) in Highgate, Vermont, has launched a singular aviation repair and maintenance apprenticeship program that founder Beth White calls the first of its kind. One of the focuses of Habitat for Aviation is electric aircraft, and plans include building a new training facility.

“There’s no program that I know of that’s training youth to become the next generation of aviation mechanics for electric aircraft,” White, an educator, told local news source VT Digger. Her plans include converting a 9,600-square-foot warehouse into a hangar, with workshop space for electric motors and other aircraft components. The facility is meant to accommodate up to 30 participants with a kitchen and lockers. The program is meant to include course time toward an FAA Airframe & Powerplant certificate.

Habitat for Aviation is already working with South Burlington-based Beta Technologies, an electric aircraft manufacturer, according to George Coy, KFSO’s former operator and father of its current operator, Clifford Coy Beta, who said engineers are helping redesign the warehouse to better accommodate the program, with the ultimate goal of training apprentices as certified technicians there.  

White said one motivation for developing Habitat for Aviation is a growing demand for aircraft technicians and other aviation technical positions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, she said, aircraft repair and maintenance needs are expected to grow 11 percent in the next decade, higher than the average among other careers.

Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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