Allegiant Hosts Three West Fargo Graduates After Awarding Them Aviation Scholarships
Reece, Seth and Kylee were all awarded $2,500 by Allegiant
LAS VEGAS, NV — A pilot shortage is expected in the country in the near future as more and more pilots face retirement.
Allegiant wants to do something about that.
The deep-discount airline has awarded its first Allegiant Careers in Aviation Scholarships to just six high school graduates.
Three of them attended a program at Sheyenne High School.
KVRR’S TJ Nelson joined them for a quick trip to Las Vegas and Allegiant headquarters to see how the airline operates.
Reece Wagner is getting a personal lesson on a preflight checklist at Allegiant’s state-of-the-art training center for pilots and crew members.
“It’s been real cool in Las Vegas, I wasn’t expecting any of this for the Allegiant headquarters but everything has been super rad,” said Reece. “They have a lot of good stuff here.”
Reece, Seth and Kylee were all awarded $2,500 by Allegiant as they take the next steps in aviation education.
All three recent high school graduates were enrolled in the Cass County Career & Technical Education Center aviation program at Sheyenne High School in West Fargo.
They are the first winners of the scholarships along with three students from Rancho High School in Las Vegas.
“Because we fly to Fargo we met with the Fargo airport director, who happened to be on the board of the aviation magnet program, so that’s how we got introduced to the Fargo school districts program,” said Hilarie Grey, Allegiant Corporate Communications.
“We put together a program to get some scholarship help for some of their top students to get them to aviation at the next level. Whether that’s through college or a flight school.”
“Another flight simulation training session is just getting over and all three West Fargo kids are going through the simulator and seeing other aspects of how the airline trains all of its employees to do the job that they do,” said TJ.
The scholarship winners were flown to Las Vegas along with a parent to tour Allegiant’s corporate headquarters in the suburb of Summerlin.
“We have 74 of 74 flights in right now.”
They got to see the operations control center in action.
Team members watch weather conditions and make adjustments to flights as well as track each and every flight and its performance.
“We have to move our assets out of the way.”
They heard from company leaders from various departments about what it takes to operate a publicly traded airline worth over $2.6 billion.
The teens quickly learned that it takes a village to operate a major airline.
“I honestly didn’t even know there were this many careers in aviation,” said Kylee Aberle. “Like I knew there was more than the pilot but not quite this many.”
Kylee is heading to NDSU this fall while she takes private flight lessons.
She was inspired by a good teacher.
“Well I just wanted to take a class that Mr. Grandall was teaching and aviation was the only one so I took it.”
Seth is heading to UND to pursue a career as a pilot and he is already getting real world experience.
“At the Jet Center I’m helping on the line there, I’m helping the line technicians move out planes,” said Seth Ouellette. “I’m making sure that pretty much the whole facility looks nice so.”
Reece is also heading to UND this fall but with his sights set on staying on the ground…in the control tower.
“Originally I was thinking commercial aviation but being a Type 1 diabetic I can’t necessarily do that on a commercial stance,” said Reece Wagner.
“But I still really want to get into the industry so I figured air traffic control is going to be my best bet.”
All three teens got a chance to meet the CEO of Allegiant, Maurice Gallagher, Jr., as he took a brief break from preparing to announce the company’s second quarter financial results.
Their whirlwind experience ended behind the controls in the state of the art Airbus simulators.
The landing was a little rough….we’ll show you that Monday night and hear more from the scholarship winners.
We’ll also tell you how the company is trying to turn around some bad press over the past few years due to outdated aircraft and mechanical issues.
Allegiant leaders say there is expected to be a national demand for around 200,000 pilots and 180,000 technicians over the next 20 years, so there will be plenty of jobs for these young aviation enthusiasts.