As the economy continues to improve statewide, it was abundantly clear at the 8th Annual, Arizona Aviation Day, at the State Capitol that aviation and aerospace play major roles in the economic health of the State.
Aviation’s economic impact on Arizona is astounding. A recent ADOT report finds that aviation’s economic impact statewide is $58 Billion per year. At the local-regional level, one can see a similar phenomenon with collegiate aviation programs like that of the Guidance Aviation-Yavapai College program in Prescott, Arizona. In 2012, Guidance Aviation’s impact on the Prescott and surrounding communities in Northern Arizona was $15.2 million*, as established by William V. Cheek and Associates.
Commenting on the day, Arizona State Representative Andy Tobin remarked, “What you have today is the opportunity for the aviation industry to share with the legislature….the economic impact that is generated by this industry. In my district, we have Guidance Helicopters, which is the number one helicopter training center.”
Guidance Aviation’s President and CEO, John Stonecipher, arrived at Arizona’s State Capitol to discuss current successes, challenges, and most importantly the new programs being offered by Guidance and its collegiate partner, Yavapai College. In addition to the current, highly successful professional helicopter pilot degree program being offered, a new degree program will be offered in August, 2013: The Associate of Applied Science, Aviation Technology degree. This new degree includes Helicopters, Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and Operations Management (OM) areas of concentration. The Operations Management area includes Air Traffic Control, Certified Flight Dispatcher, and Flight Service Specialist (FSS) – The FSS program was written by Guidance Aviation’s Director of Academics, Professor John “JJ” Johnson, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), working directly with Lockheed Martin’s Flight Service Center to specifically meet the hiring requirements of Lockheed Martin.
In addition to the new, Yavapai College Aviation Technology Degree program, Guidance has already expanded its current Part 141, high altitude helicopter flight training programs to include Turbine Transition Training, Long Line (Vertical Reference), Night Vision Goggles (NVG), and Part 135 Tour Operations.
The Yavapai College Professional Helicopter Pilot Program was established in spring of 2010 and to date is generating over $9 million in revenues annually, making this the highest revenue generating degree program at Yavapai College, surpassing current contributions from the State of Arizona.