October 23, 2013

Auburn President Asks Governor Bentley For Aviation Funding

Dr. Jay GogueIn a letter addressed to Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, Dr. Jay Gogue has asked the state for $5.3 million in direct funding to build a new flight training building at the Auburn University Regional Airport.

The facility would house Auburn’s Flight Training Program and possibly two new programs; an Airframe and Powerplant program along with an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle program.

The text of the letter follows:

The Honorable Robert Bentley
Governor, State of Alabama
State Capitol
600 Dexter Avenue
Montgomery, Alabama 36104

Dear Governor Bentley:

Auburn University is a national leader in aviation education. The aviation and aerospace industries, which as you know are increasingly important to our State’s economy, aggressively seek our graduates. Likewise, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recognizes Auburn’s professional flight management degree as one of the country’s premier programs and now awards our graduates with coveted Airline Transport Pilot certificates with fewer requirements compared to those graduating from other programs or commercial flight training schools. The demand for pilots is increasing, as noted just this week when American Airlines announced its need to hire 1,500 pilots over the next five years, its largest group of pilots in more than a decade.

With this letter, we ask for your assistance to identify funding for a new facility. The current facility must be razed to comply with FAA standards for instrument approaches at the Auburn University Regional Airport. As a result, the university must build adequate facilities that meet accreditation requirements.

The facility will accommodate flight training, including flight simulators; workforce training for the aerospace and aviation industries; and related research. This facility also represents the opportunity to expand aviation offerings to include Airframe/Powerplant related training and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) training through cooperative efforts with the state’s two-year colleges. Space could also be dedicated to promote dual enrollment options for high school students. Importantly, the activities and training that take place in the new facility will address the needs recently expressed by industry and state government officials related to our flight education program and the State’s only four-year degree in aviation management.
Securing these funds is critical to the program’s continued accreditation. As such, we solicit your help as chairman of the Bond Commission established by Amendment 666 to the Alabama Constitution of 1901 to secure $5,287,000 through the Bond Commission, or from other sources that may be available.

Auburn’s ability to continue its support of the state’s expanding aerospace and aviation industries- companies such as GE Aviation, Airbus Americas, Commercial Jet Inc., Northrup Grumman, and a highly recruited composite material aircraft company is vital to the state’s economy. However, continued accreditation is paramount to the quality and success of the program. Equally important is mitigating the financial impact of construction costs on the program for both students and the university.

I will contact you in a couple of days to discuss our request with you further.

We will appreciate your favorable consideration.

Dr. Jay Gogue

October 23, 2013