The top two commanders of the Civil Air Patrol’s Tennessee Wing toured MTSU’s flight and air traffic control simulators Friday as part of a fact-finding mission that could result in an aerospace education partnership to benefit area youth.
Col. Bill Lane, the wing commander, and his top deputy, Lt. Col. Arlinda Bailey, visited the MTSU Aerospace Department’s operations at the Murfreesboro Airport and the main campus, including the $3.2 million, 360-degree air traffic control tower simulator.
CAP, the volunteer civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, has a cadet program for youths age 12 to 21 that has a strong emphasis on aerospace education. Lane said he was interested in finding ways for CAP cadets to connect with MTSU’s aerospace facility and facilities.
“Your aerospace program has a national reputation for excellence and we would like to find ways for our cadets to benefit from your expertise,” Lane said.
More than 1,000 volunteers are part of the CAP’s Tennessee Wing, which is headquartered in Alcoa, Tenn., with squadrons in cities across the state. In addition to aerospace education and its cadet program, CAP is also known nationally for its emergency services, which includes more than 90 percent of the nation’s inland search and rescue missions.
MTSU Vice President and Spokesman Andrew Oppmann said the university would like to explore ways to reach out to CAP cadets interested in exploring careers in aerospace.
“We want to help connect interested cadets in the Tennessee Wing to the opportunities we offer in our aerospace program, as well as our 100-plus other degree options,” he said.
Established in 1942, the Aerospace Department is a signature department at MTSU and has grown into one of the most respected programs in the nation. Fourteen full-time faculty members, 35 flight instructors and more than 750 majors place it among the largest of the nation's collegiate aviation programs.