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Aviation Program

Beginning as early as grade 11, MCI students can take blended-learning courses to prepare for flight instruction in preparation of receiving their private pilot license. MCI's Aviation Program covers many aspects of aviation for students interested in actual flight training or aeronautical engineering after graduation. 

HOW IT WORKSIn the first semester of year 11 or 12, students enroll at

Working with an MCI teacher-guide, students earn a science credit upon completion of the course. In the second semester, students  enroll in a course offered by the University of Maine at Augusta (UMA), where they earn a physics credit from MCI as well as three college credit hours from UMA. 

Upon completion of this course, students who are at least 16 years of age have the option to begin flight training at the Pittsfield Municipal Airport, which is close to the MCI campus. Students in grade 11 can begin training during the summer or they can complete this course in the first term of grade 12. Students who do not wish to participate in flight training can continue their studies with a semester course from during their grade 12 year.

View the MCI Aviation Program brochurePurdue University has a specific program for students who have earned a pilot’s license in high school and is interested in a commercial, advanced license.  As students who have completed this program at MCI and in conjunction with the University of Maine at Augusta, they are ideal candidates for this exclusive program and are encouraged to move forward here if aviation is their passion and desire for future study:

Visit the Purdue Aviation Page

Pittsfield Municipal Airport

aviation students at airport by plane

Built on what was Pittsfield’s fairgrounds and racetrack in the late nineteenth century, the Pittsfield Municipal Airport opened in the 1930s with one gravel runway; later, the runway was paved and terminal facilities were built. The U.S. Navy used the airport from 1942-1944 to train pilots, and several companies based in central Maine have a long history of accessing the airport to travel quickly and conveniently to work locations and meetings in Maine, New England, and throughout the United States. 

The Pittsfield Municipal Airport covers an area of 325 acres at an elevation of 197 feet (60 m) above mean sea level. It has one runway designated 18/36 with an asphalt surface measuring 4,003 by 100 feet (1,220 x 30 m). In the past twenty years, the airport reconstructed the runway, marked and added lights for flight safety. The airport received millions of dollars in federal and state grants to add several more safety enhancements, which included a new segmented circle, PAPI. and new aircraft navigational aids.

The Pittsfield Municipal Airport’s fixed-based operator is Curtis Air, which is run by Caleb Curtis.  The company provides passenger/pilot facilities and services, communication to pilots, and advises the Town of Pittsfield on facility needs. The airport hosts companies like Central Maine Aviation and Vacationald Skydiving that provide services to the central Maine community.

The Pittsfield Municipal Airport is an amazing asset for Pittsfield. The airport provides economic development opportunities and is attractive to business executives who travel around the country and the world frequently. Thanks to the Pittsfield Municipal Airport’s low rental costs and convenience, private pilots enjoy flying in and out of the airport for recreation and business, and charter flights, flight instruction, and aircraft storage is available all year round.

The Pittsfield Municipal Airport has 8,700 aircraft operations, an average of 23 per day: 99% general aviation and 1% air taxi. There are approximately 43 aircraft based at this airport: 77% single-engine, 14% multi-engine, and 9% glider.

The nearest airports are in Waterville (20 minutes) and Bangor (40 minutes).

UMA's Aviation Program 

UMA’s Aviation Program for High School/Pre-College Students begins on January 21, 2020, and concludes at the end of August 2020. The objective of the 7-month program is to prepare high school seniors for their private pilot license.

The course includes

  • AVI 141 – Private Pilot Ground Training (3 credits)
  • AVI 145 – Solo Flight Training (1 credit)
  • AVI 146 – Solo to Private Pilot (2 credits)

Course Detail:

AVI 141 – Private Pilot Ground Training - Students attend the in-residence/Zoom/Tape Delay University of Maine Private Pilot ground training course. The course consists of 102.5 hours broken up into three stages:

  • Stage 1 – 49.4 Hours.  The objectives of this stage are to introduce the student to the aviation experience, pilot training, human factors in aviation, and become familiar with the airplane systems, instrumentation, and aerodynamic principles, as well as the flight environment. Students also will obtain a basic knowledge of safety of flight, airports, aeronautical charts, airspace, radio communications, and air traffic control services, including the use of radar. In addition, students will learn radio procedures and the common sources of flight information.
  • Stage 2 – 22.6 hours.  The objectives of this stage are to introduce the student to weather theory, typical weather patterns, and aviation weather hazards. In addition to meteorological theory, the student will learn how to obtain and interpret various weather reports, forecasts, and graphic charts. Finally, the student will become thoroughly familiar with the regulations as they apply to private pilot operations.
  • Stage 3 – 30.5 hours.  During this stage, the student will learn how to predict performance and control the weight and balance condition of the airplane. In addition, the student will be introduced to pilotage, dead reckoning, and navigation equipment. This includes understanding the basic concepts of how to use aeronautical charts, plotters, flight computers, and flight publications to plan cross-country flights. The student also will learn how to use VOR and GPS systems. In addition, the student will obtain an understanding of the physiological factors which can affect both pilot and passengers during flight. Finally, the student will learn how to conduct comprehensive preflight planning for cross-country flights and gain insight into factors affecting aeronautical decision making.

Additionally, there are three end-of-stage exams, each 1.5 hours in length included in each training stage, as well as a 3-hour end-of-course exam that brings the course total to 105.5 hours.

The 105.5-hour course content includes 68 hours of computer-based training using the Jeppesen Guided Flight Discovery material and 37.5 hours of in-class hours where the computer-based training material is explored and applied to the student’s flight training.

At the completion of the course, the student will be prepared to take the FAA Private Pilot Airplane Aeronautical Test. 

NOTE – the following flight training courses follow the Jeppesen Private Pilot Training syllabus. Aircraft flight and flight simulator hours are approximate and depend on the student’s progress through the program.

AVI 145 – Solo Flight Training includes instruction for students to obtain the foundation for all future aviation training. Students become familiar with the training airplane and learn how the airplane controls are used to establish and maintain specific flight attitudes and ground tracks. Students are introduced to Single Pilot Resource Management (SRM) and also gain the proficiency to solo the training airplane in the traffic pattern.  Additionally, students will learn emergency procedures and become proficient in memory items prior to solo. 

  • Stage I – 15 Flight hours and 5 flight simulator hours. This is the flight portion of the student’s preparation for the FAA Private Pilot License.  To complete this portion, the student must be 16 years of age.  The training consists of one block of training and is expected to require approximately 15 hours of flight training and approximately 5 hours of flight simulator training. Flight hours will depend on student proficiency.
  • A maximum of 20 flight hours are allotted to this phase: if the student does not solo after 20 hours, a review of the student progress and potential will be made. 

The successful completion standard for AVI 145 leads to the solo flight certificate.

AVI 146 – Solo to Private Pilot Flight Training, 35 Flight hours and 6 flight simulator hours.

This course consists of two stages of training and is expected to consist of a total of 35 hours of flight training and 6 hours of flight simulator training.  It will be broken up into two stages:

  • Stage II – 20 Flight hours and 3 flight simulator hours.  During this stage, the student expands the skills learned in Stage I (AVI 145).  The student is introduced to short-field and soft-field takeoff and landing procedures as well as night-flying – skills critical in preparation for cross-country training.  Additionally, greater emphasis is placed on attitude control by instrument reference to increase the student’s overall competence.  In the cross-country phase, the student learns to plan and conduct cross-country flights using pilotage, dead reckoning, and radio navigation systems; and how to safely conduct flights in the National Airspace System.
  • Stage III – 15 flight hours and 3 flight simulator hours.  During this phase, the student will gain additional proficiency in solo-cross-country operations and will receive instruction in preparation for the end-of-course stage check and the FAA Private Pilot Practical Test.

The completion standard for AVI 146 is the student earning his or her private pilot license.