Kissimmee companies adding to pilot, aviation ranks – Osceola News-Gazette

Home Manufacturers Kissimmee companies adding to pilot, aviation ranks – Osceola News-Gazette
Kissimmee companies adding to pilot, aviation ranks – Osceola News-Gazette

Part I of Kissimmee aviation story: https://www.aroundosceola.com/news/kissimmee-airport-home-aviation-training

At the same time that new pilots are being made at the Kissimmee Airport, two other businesses are training mechanics, aviation electronics and avionics technicians.

Aviator College Kissimmee is an extension of a four-year college located at the Fort Pierce airport. In Kissimmee, their students train to receive their Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) mechanics license from the Federal Aviation Administration. A&P mechanics are in as high demand as pilots, and due to a lack of formal licensing in the theme park industry, theme park operators hire A&P mechanics in lead and supervisory roles to work on roller coasters and other mechanical rides.

Through Aviator College, most students are hired immediately upon graduation. One of the hallmarks of the school is that students work on the operational aircraft flight students and instructors use for flight training. Many aviation mechanics also learn to fly, so the emphasis on leaving nothing to chance and getting things right the first time is pervasive in the industry.

Students who graduate with a 3.0 GPA from the course are offered a familiarization course on the types of engines that power the Airbus fleet of airliner aircraft, at no charge, according to the company’s website.

Across the runway, Avionica USA trains individuals to become avionics technicians. Avionica is both a school and an FAA Certified Avionics Repair Station. While avionics is a subset of general aircraft maintenance and covered by an A&P FAA license, Avionica’s graduates achieve certification from the Federal Communications Commission to repair aircraft radios and can perform other work under the supervision of a licensed A& P mechanic. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, avionics technicians earn a median salary of $58,540 up to $87,570, an excellent annual salary for a position that requires a high school or equivalent before entering training.

“Being collocated with the Repair Station ensures that Avoinica’s students have access to the latest equipment and trends in the industry” said Ashley Mercado, Vice President of Avionica. “We have students who graduated and went right to work at other aviation businesses at the Kissimmee Airport, including Cirrus Aircraft.”

Cirrus, a prolific aircraft manufacturer, opened a Factory Training Center at the Kissimmee airport in 2021. Avionica is also partnered with the University of Central Florida’s Division of Continuing Education.

Kissimmee officials say having these two sources of trained aviation maintenance professionals is a great benefit for attracting aviation companies to the Kissimmee Airport.

“We are an incredible resource for the aviation industry, not only to grow businesses but to grow its workforce, as we have a significant number of these aviation academic tracks,” said Belinda Kirkegard, Economic Development Director for the City of Kissimmee. “It’s complemented by the fact that Kissimmee (along with Central Florida) has a very young demographic. We’re a fantastic pipeline for the aviation industries workforce.

“I highly encourage young adults to look into aviation for new career opportunities as there are incredible technical jobs within reach.”

For more information on Kissimmee Airport, and the businesses located there, see https://www. flykissimmee.com.

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