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Aviation Degree Programs Continue to Soar with New SUNY Schenectady Center for Aviation Sciences Hangar

Officials cut the ribbon for the new airport hangar

Officials from the College, Schenectady County, students, faculty, and alumni during the ribbon cutting for the new SUNY Schenectady Center for Aviation Sciences hangar at the Schenectady County Airport.


A new hangar at the Schenectady County Airport has added an exciting dimension to the College’s Aviation Science program, with space for the College to store Cessnas and Pipers flown by students in the program, and an area for educational training. Students in the College’s Pilot Option, part of the degree program, fly out of the Schenectady County Airport, gaining substantial experience in actual flight training toward a Private Pilot Certificate, Instrument Rating, and a Commercial Pilot Certificate in conjunction with their A.S. degree.

Airplane behind College ribbon (to be cut for ceremony)

Construction on the new $2.5 million SUNY Schenectady Center for Aviation Sciences hangar, which contains four hangar pods (each 56’ x 53’), was completed this fall. Funding was provided by a grant from the New York State Department of Transportation, Schenectady County, and New York State Community College capital funding.

“Just as the space at the airport was transformed into this beautiful new facility, so too are our students transformed into experienced aviators through flight training and ground classes in our outstanding Aviation Science degree program,” said Dr. Steady Moono, President of SUNY Schenectady. “Schenectady County and New York State have recognized the importance of our program in the lives of our students and to the future of the aviation industry by making this investment. The new hangar is a significant addition to our program and it’s already impacting our students by providing a central location for airplane storage and educational purposes.”

Alumni and current aviation students standing in front of plane

Anthony Jasenski Sr., Chair of the Schenectady County Legislature, noted that the County was pleased to invest in the College’s program. “We are proud to support SUNY Schenectady’s Aviation Science program through the establishment of a new flex pod at our County Airport,” he said. “Our continued partnership and investment in the College underscores our dedication to its mission of delivering education and training aligned with the needs of local and national industries, positioning students for success now and into the future.”

aviation classroom

Dr. Eric Savage, Director of Aviation Programs at SUNY Schenectady, discussed the impact that the new hangar will have on future students. “This hangar space represents another shining example of the strong commitment that the people of Schenectady County and the great state of New York have made in furthering the technical education of our region’s youth,” he said. “Our SUNY Schenectady Aviation programs will gain momentum with this critical investment for decades into the future.”

Students attend ground school classes on the SUNY Schenectady campus and flight laboratories are provided by Five Star Flight, Inc., and Richmor Aviation. Alumni of the program have gone on to fly for and work for Delta Airlines, American Airlines, United Airlines, PSA Airlines, Millionaire Aviation, Signature Aviation, and Republic Airways.

Wandel Perez speaking at podium

One of those alumni is Wandel Perez, a 2017 graduate of the Aviation Science degree program, who is now a First Officer with United Airlines. During the ribbon cutting event, Perez spoke about his experience at SUNY Schenectady and the significance of the hangar for current students.

“When people look at this structure, they see a building, a hangar, but when I look at it, I see stories being built — stories of future aviators who will help with the shortage of pilots,” he said. “The new SUNY Schenectady Center for Aviation Sciences will make it possible for many students to realize their dreams. I came to SUNY Schenectady with hopes and dreams of one day achieving my lifelong goal to become a pilot. Through my professors, my mentors, and the instruction that was given to me, I was able to put in my work and make my dreams come true.”

Aviation alumni in front of plane

Aviation Science alumni: Joshua Ross, Class of 2013, who is a First Officer for United Airlines; Matthew Molnar, Class of 2018, who is a First Officer with Delta Air Lines; and Wandel Perez, Class of 2017, who is now First Officer with United Airlines. 

In addition to the Aviation Science - Pilot Option, the College also offers an Aviation Science -Aviation Management Option and an Air Traffic Control degree program. SUNY Schenectady is one of only two colleges in the nation to offer an Air Traffic Control certification that prepares students for the FAA Control Tower Operator exam, with students learning hands-on alongside certified controllers in the Schenectady County Airport Control Tower for the Schenectady County ATCT Facility Rating.