Mercer County college students train to be commercial pilots

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TRENTON -

Nearly 100 Mercer County Community College students are on the path to becoming commercial airline pilots thanks to a partnership with the college and a flight school.

The college has partnered with Infinity Flight, a pilot training program at Trenton Mercer Airport. The students take their traditional college classes on campus, but practice flying at the airport. The one-one-on pilot lessons begin the first day of school.

“You get the hands-on and you don’t start in the simulator. You start flying day one,” says 20-year-old student Paige McCloskey. “You learn as much, if not more, I think.”

The flight school currently has 34 planes, with plans for more to come. Students are allowed to come whenever they want to practice flying.

School officials say that the 18-month program is becoming very popular – and with good reason. The airline industry is facing a major pilot shortage.

Most of the Infinity students spend a year instructing at the flight school before they head to a regional airline as a first officer. The school has a relationship with Piedmont - a subsidiary of American Airlines. Many of their students and instructors interview there after they reach their required hours in flight.

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