Spartan College, American Eagle partner to ease pilot shortage

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Reported by: Morgan Downing
Updated: 2/13 9:14 am Published: 2/12 11:22 pm

TULSA, OK -- American Airlines is looking for some top guns, and it's setting up its own flight school -- of sorts--- in Tulsa. American is training pilots with the help of American Eagle and locally based Spartan School of Aeronautics.

The partnership will give Spartan students the opportunity to work for American Eagle. While they're working for the regional airline,
they'll get experience needed to further their careers with American Airlines.

"That is something that is very desirable for everyone," said Spartan student Zachary Prewitt.

Prewitt is a student at Spartan and he sees the new pilot program as a 
to help achieve his dreams.

"I do think this will help a lot because it provides a more defined path to that end goal," he said.

While it benefits Prewitt, it also was created to help ease a pilot shortage across the U.S.

"It's definitely hurting the major airline industry as a whole," American Eagle recruiter Nicholas Brice said.

Brice told Fox 23 a lot of pilots are retiring. That coupled with the FAA's new, strict standards for commercial pilots,
is creating a problem.

"A culmination of all that, I should say, is causing us to look far and wide to find qualified applicants," Brice said.

Spartan is the place they are going to look.

Spartan will give the students the basic training needed to fly an American Eagle jet.

Then, the students who
are accepted into the pipeline program will receive a $10,000 signing bonus, work for about three years, and then they'll have the opportunity to fly for American Airlines -- something that could take longer and cost a lot more for students who aren't in the program.

"Especially with as expensive flying can be, scholarships and everything help," Prewitt said.

The program will begin immediately at Spartan.

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