Clarksville, TN – Charles W. Weigandt, a 24-year U.S. Army veteran and founding member of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, was recently named director of Austin Peay State University’s proposed Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Science program, with a concentration in rotor wing (helicopters). He began his new role at APSU on Tuesday, May 1st, 2018.
“I believe the Aviation Science Program will benefit both veterans and the general public by providing a professional helicopter pilot certification and degree program unlike any other in the state,” Weigandt said. “I am honored that the University selected me to direct this program. I have always had a great passion for aviation, and this will be a great way to spread that passion.”
Following his time in the U.S. Army, Weigandt spent an additional 14 years as a contract flight instructor. He earned a master’s degree in military history from Austin Peay, and he previously served as flight publications manager at Fort Campbell.
Earlier this year, Austin Peay State University announced its plan, pending several approvals, to open the first rotor-wing flight school attached to a bachelor’s degree in the state. On April 2nd, 2018, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)—the region’s higher education accrediting body—approved the program.
“The program aligns with the institution’s mission and strategic plan, and program need was determined by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data and student survey results,” Dr. Belle Wheelan, SACSCOC president, wrote in a letter to APSU.
The U.S. Department of Education and the Federal Aviation Administration still need to endorse the program before the University can accept applications for the Fall 2018 semester.
In January, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) awarded Austin Peay State University a $175,000 Aeronautics Economic Development Fund grant for the program to purchase a helicopter simulator. The University is also looking to purchase or lease three helicopters—two Guimbal Cabri G2s and a Robinson R44.
The program’s flight training will take place at the Clarksville Regional Airport, also known as Outlaw Field.
Rotor-wing students will earn four FAA certifications—private helicopter, commercial helicopter, certified flight instructor and certified flight instructor-instrument—while pursuing a bachelor’s degree.