KSU professor gives aeronautics students helicopter training

John Hitch

Kent State’s FAA-accredited aeronautics faculty strengthened its status as a leader in flight education by offering dual helicopter flight instruction Dec. 1 at the Portage County Airport.

“As far as I know, it was the first helicopter lessons given by (the university) to aeronautics students,” said assistant professor Edward Overchuk, who organized the event with Isaac Richmond Nettey, assistant dean and senior program director of aeronautics for Kent State’s College of Technology.

He hopes this milestone for “the premier flight training university in Ohio” will someday “develop into a fully operational helicopter training program.”

The College of Technology, which does not own its own rotary wing aircraft, leased the training helicopter from Eagles’ Wings


“It’s a wonderful opportunity to provide an additional option for students who are interested in helicopter flight (as a profession),” Nettey said. He wouldn’t, however, forecast the possible future inception of an actual helicopter flight training program.

Currently, the aviation division offers bachelor’s degree programs in aeronautical studies, aeronautical systems engineering technology, aviation management and flight technology.

In Fall 2008, Kent State will become the first school in the state to house the Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative program, which will train the next generation of air traffic controllers.

Overchuk said he spent from 30 minutes to one hour in the air with each student taking the special topics class, Helicopter Theory and Operations, to help give them an idea if they might enjoy it as a career.

The former Channel 5 chopper pilot has carried his helicopter flight instructor’s license for eight years and has flown airplanes since 1987.

Besides flying for news gathering services, Overchuk said helicopter pilots could help save lives by transporting accident victims to hospitals. The Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and MetroHealth all employ emergency medical service helicopters.

Overchuk thinks the steps taken to diversify its curriculum shows Kent State’s aeronautics program is striving for excellence.

“We want to provide the best training, the best opportunities and best job placement,” he said.

Contact College of Technology reporter John Hitch at [email protected]