As The US Faces A Pilot Shortage, OTC Aviation Program Expands To Lebanon

Jun 12, 2019

Ozarks Technical Community College officials gathered at the airport in Lebanon on Wednesday to open the new facility.
Credit Ozarks Technical Community College

Ozarks Technical Community College is expanding its aviation program to the city of Lebanon.

In addition to its flying lessons in Springfield, OTC will offer the program in Lebanon starting this fall.  The city of Lebanon renovated a building for OTC to use, and a private donor contributed to the program, officials said.

Dr. Matt Hudson is OTC’s Dean for Technical Education and rolled out the program on Wednesday. While the program will not be as extensive as the one in Springfield, Hudson says the expansion will give students a way to explore aviation locally.

“The city of Lebanon’s airport is obviously smaller than Springfield’s, but there was an opportunity there to really give students in the area a chance to be able to experience and take flight lessons,” Hudson told KSMU.

Students who go through the program can go on to fly for commercial airlines or the military, both of which are experiencing a shortage of pilots.

According to Boeing’s projections, North America will require 206,000 new certified pilots in the next 20 years.

OTC's aviation program in Springfield began in August of 2017 with a goal of enrolling 24 students. The program now has 70 students enrolled, Hudson said.  It operates through the Premiere Flight Center, a certified flight school that operates out of the Springfield-Branson National Airport. 

According to a press release from OTC, an information session for the program will be held at OTC’s Lebanon Center on Tuesday, June 18, at 5:30 PM. The OTC Lebanon Center is located at 22360 Highway MM in Lebanon.