Saturday, April 05, 2014

Utah Valley University: 1,600 students worldwide take online flight classes

OREM -- If you want to be certified to fly, UVU is the place for you -- and the world.

Most people may be startled to know that while UVU's flight school has 200 students on campus, it has an additional 1,600 students learning to fly online.

The program is so popular because students can get a private aviation license, an instrument license and even a commercial pilot's license, said Richard Crandall, who directs the program and has taught aviation here for nearly two decades.

A private license allows a person to fly themselves, family and friends in a private plane without charging. An instrument license is a more challenging task, allowing students to fly in weather and clouds relying on instrumentation instead of sight. A commercial license means you can fly commercially as a crop duster or spotter.

If you are not satisfied with those options, you can also get a license to teach flight school.

"We offer everything a person would need to get a career," Crandall said. "We are one of the largest in the nation."

The 1,600 students who take classes online do their actual flying hours in airports local to them.

"They can fly where they live," he said. "They don't have to come to UVU to fly."

The program is popular because students can get a bachelor's degree while getting certified to fly. In fact, some commercial pilots enroll.

"We have airline pilots who take the courses because they might not have a degree" even though they have all the licenses needed to fly, he said. "They can get a degree in Aviation Professional Pilot or Aviation Administration."

The students are not limited to the U.S.

"They are people who are anywhere in the world," he said. All that is required is online access and the ability to do flight hours wherever the students live.

Crandall said he loves to fly and teach.

"Believe it or not, Orville Wright was still alive when I was a kid," he said with a laugh.

Crandall's experience began in the Air Force, and eventually in the U.S. space program, though he did not go into space himself.

"I can talk from history," he said.

"At UVU Aviation Science, we have developed and refined one of the best and most affordable aviation training programs available," according to the school's website. "Our program offers an alternative route, allowing students seeking careers in aviation to complete a Professional Pilot or Aviation Administration degree online. Students across the country have the option of training at their local flight school or at UVU."

For information about UVU's flight program, visit