Spartan College Expands its Fleet for Pilot Training with Purchase of 32 Piper Aircrafts

Courtesy photo
SIGNIFICANT ANNOUNCEMENT: Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology President and CEO Rob Polston addresses industry guests and members of the media to announce the new fleet of Piper Aircraft. Also speaking at the event were U.S. Representative Kevin Hern, City of Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum, Spartan College Tulsa campus President Kari Pahno, Piper Americas General Manager of Sales Hans Stancil and Tulsa Regional Chamber President and CEO Mike Neal.

Officials at Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology announced on Oct. 28 the expansion of its aircraft fleet with the purchase of 32 new Piper Aircrafts to meet the future demand for certified pilots in the United States. State and local officials joined Spartan College and Piper Aircraft leaders for the historic delivery of the 5000th Piper Archer Aircraft at Spartan College’s flight facility at Jones Riverside Airport in Tulsa.
Founded 92 years ago, Spartan College is one of the Nation’s first technical training schools for pilots and aviation maintenance. Along with three facilities in Tulsa, Spartan College is also located in the following areas: Los Angeles; Inland Empire, Calif.; and Denver. Spartan students have come from across the United States and more than 62 countries.
“Since 1928, Spartan has trained and changed the lives of more than 100,000 pilots and mechanics serving in civil and military careers. With the purchase of these aircraft, we are re-committing ourselves to Tulsa and to Oklahoma,” said Spartan College CEO Rob Polston. “We could have chosen many places to invest and operate, but we happen to believe in our strategic plan to make Tulsa the most sought-after destination for flight and mechanic training as well as the single-largest and most-recognized flight school in the United States.”
Based in Vero Beach, Florida, Piper Aircraft was founded 83 years ago and manufactures the Archer Aircraft, the standard plane used for new pilots and flight schools. The Piper Archer first debuted in 1975.
“Piper has achieved a significant aviation milestone today with the delivery of the 5,000th Piper Archer to Spartan College,” said Simon Caldecott, president and chief executive officer for Piper. “As Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology continues to expand their aviation programs, Piper Aircraft is proud to be part of their comprehensive aviation program. As a longstanding pilot training provider, they continue to demonstrate their commitment to excellence and their students by providing multiple aviation programs and opportunities for their students. We look forward to their continued success and to providing more Piper trainers in support of their commitment to aviation education.”
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. was already facing a shortage of pilots due to national and global demand. According to the 2020 Boeing Market Outlook (BMO) released in October, the company predicts that near and long-term market adjustments will still require replacement of “tens of thousands of pilots and trained technicians due to retirement age. Over the next decade, educational outreach and career pathway programs will be essential to inspiring and recruiting the next generation.”
“As the world economies bounce back from the temporary set-back of COVID-19, which they inevitably will, air travel will resume, just as it has after every major external shock from the energy crisis, to the financial crisis and SARS,” said Polston. “Despite what the technology giants hope, there is no substitution for the business and personal connections that come with flying from one destination to another.”
Spartan College’s growth in Tulsa and its ongoing capital investment is key to providing the regional aerospace and aviation industry with the pipeline of skilled, certified employees needed to maintain the city’s employment base.
“Oklahoma’s aviation and aerospace industries have an annual economic impact of $11.7 billion,” said Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Tulsa Regional Chamber. “Spartan College has been a critical partner in the state’s aviation and aerospace growth for more than nine decades, and its world-class education and training support the 200,000 aviation and aerospace jobs in our state. Today’s announcement furthers Spartan’s ability to develop highly-skilled talent in the region, ensuring Tulsa and Oklahoma remain at the forefront of aviation and aerospace excellence.”
Spartan College is proactively addressing the upcoming pilot shortage by offering students options to train for pilot certification. Training to become a pilot at Spartan College will give you skills and experience necessary to earn multiple Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) part 141 pilot certifications, in just 17 months. Due to the pandemic, Spartan College is working on reinventing its training programs into a hybrid model with online options for several of its programs, including aviation maintenance technicians.
“With the addition of the Piper Archers, Spartan students will be trained with industry-leading technology such as electronic flight bags and the latest Garmin G1000 avionics system,” said Beau Schrader, Spartan College’s vice president of flight operations. “By teaching Spartan students on features like the flight management system, weather, traffic, terrain, and autopilot, the students will receive professional environment experiences in a training environment to better prepare and equip them with the experiences to succeed in the aviation industry.”