univ-dbqThe University of Dubuque is becoming one of the rare four-year colleges to add helicopter flight training to its catalogue of courses. The school already has about 170 students learning how to fly fixed-wing aircraft as part of its Aviation Program.

Program director Steven Accinelli says Dubuque decided to begin teaching students to fly choppers because of a rising demand for pilots.

“What we’re seeing is a lot of job opportunities that we haven’t seen, I would say five years ago we weren’t seeing,” Accinelli says. “We’re seeing companies that are looking for helicopter pilots. We’re seeing growth in the helicopter industry internationally.” The school will start offering helicopter pilot training in January. He says many industries are looking to hire helicopter pilots.

“There’s a lot of corporate transportation positions,” Accinelli says. “There’s things like logging, particularly in the northwest and northeast, there’s a lot of logging operations.” Other jobs are open for helicopter pilots aboard air ambulances and in fields like agricultural spraying and map-making.

The University of Dubuque is the only school in the state offering a Bachelor of Science degree in flight operations.

Thanks to Rob Dillard, Iowa Public Radio