Augusta campus aims to launch 4-year degree for aspiring pilots


AUGUSTA — The University of Maine at Augusta and a local flight school are partnering to help students start careers in aviation, a field that will need to fill a lot of vacant positions in the future.

The University of Maine System Board of Trustees is expected to approve the creation of a four-year bachelor of science program in aviation at UMA at its Jan. 28 meeting in Bangor.

The campus is partnering with Maine Instrument Flight, a Federal Aviation Administration-certified flight school founded in 1946 by Bill Perry, who trained World War II pilots. Perry’s son, who also is named Bill Perry, and daughter, Shirley Whitney, own the company today. Maine Instrument Flight provides flight instruction, charter flights and maintenance out of Augusta State Airport.

The university and the flight school say there is a growing demand for flight instructors, freight, charter and commercial pilots, as more and more airline pilots are approaching retirement age.