South Georgia Technical College Aviation faculty and students volunteering for Air Race Classic coming to Americus
Over 100 women pilots, ranging in age from 17 to 90 years old, are participating in the Air Race Classic, which is the epicenter of women’s air racing, and will be flying through and stopping in Americus as one of the eight timing points in the 2,400 statute miles race, June 21st – 24th. South Georgia Technical College aviation maintenance instructors and students are serving as volunteers for the event. The Air Race will begin in Prescott, Arizona and continue through Albuquerque, New Mexico; Midland, TX; Waco, TX; Arkadelphia, AR; Warrensburg, MO; Champaign/Urbana, IL/Tuscola, IL; Murfreesboro, TN; Americus, GA; and end at Daytona Beach, FL at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University’s Daytona Beach campus. This year’s race stops were all chosen because they are near to or affiliated with schools with an aviation program. South Georgia Technical College (SGTC) in Americus, is Georgia’s oldest aviation school and its rich history makes it one of the oldest training facilities in the United States. Prior to being used as a college, the land on which SGTC now stands, was an Aviation Training Base during WWI and WWII known as Souther Field. Souther Field was renamed in 2009 and the airport is now known as the Jimmy Carter Regional Airport. South Georgia Technical College offers Aviation Maintenance Technology, Avionics Technology, and Aircraft Structural Technology programs. The programs last from four to six semesters. South Georgia Technical College is also a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved training and testing site. All SGTC aviation students have the opportunity to take the FAA Airframe and Powerplant license exams upon graduation. Approximately 100 students are currently enrolled in these programs and enrollment has been as high as 250 students within the last five years. Thousands of students have graduated from these programs in the last 68 years. Over the last five years, between 10% to 30% of the college’s aviation graduates, each year were females. Victoria Herron is an Aviation Maintenance Technology Instructor and the Program Chair for the Aviation Department at South Georgia Technical College. She is the only full-time female aviation instructor in the Technical College System of Georgia. She earned her Aviation Maintenance, Avionics, and Aircraft Structural diplomas at SGTC and was also a Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) nominee, SkillsUSA state winner and a SkillsUSA national competitor. In addition to her educational career, Herron has worked at Warner Robins Air Force Base and with several private companies. As a female in a male-dominated field, Victoria has been able to encourage other females to consider aviation maintenance as a career option. “Most of my career experiences have been very positive,” said Herron when asked about working in a typically male dominated career. “People have been very accepting of my career. Although, I do get some strange looks when people ask me what I do for a living.” Herron was also very complimentary of the students that she works with teaching and training them about the career she loves. “We have some very high caliber students in the aviation program here at SGTC and I love what I do. I use the golden rule and I treat my students the way I would like to be treated and that goes a long way.” Herron has been working at South Georgia Tech since 2009 and this year, she had the opportunity to travel to Nashville, TN to witness one of her female students, Amy Pike Griffin, receive the Southwest Airlines Maintenance Training Scholarship at the 2016 Women in Aviation International scholarship reception at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. That scholarship was valued at $4,250 to attend a two week 737-700/800 Systems class with Southwest Airlines. That scholarship opportunity allowed Griffin to meet with many of the top women in aviation as well as hear from the top speakers in this profession. Griffin competed against the top aviation students from across the United States for this scholarship opportunity. South Georgia Technical College aviation graduates can literally work anywhere in the United States with an FAA Airframe and Powerplant license. And they do. One of South Georgia Tech’s 1979 aviation graduates, Dan Linginfelter, was just recognized as the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year by the Technical College System of Georgia. He is currently a Senior Airworthiness Inspector for Gulfstream Aerospace in Savannah. He joined Gulfstream in 2015 after retiring from Certified Aviation Services, a leading provider of MRO services for fleet operators around the world. He also served as Director of Operations and was responsible for supporting CAS management and staff in both East Coast and West Coast stations as well as Los Angeles, Seattle, Ontario, San Diego, Las Vegas, and San Francisco. He had previously retired from Delta Air Lines, where he had worked for 32 years most recently as the Atlanta Station Manager, International. South Georgia Technical College Aviation graduates are currently employed by Gulfstream Aerospace, the Warner Robins Air Force Base, Delta, Southwest, Thrush, Pratt and Whitney, Lockheed Martin, Cessna, Maule, and other companies. South Georgia Technical College aviation faculty and students will be participating and hosting with the Air Race Classic event and will be providing information about South Georgia Tech and its programs to the race participants. For more information about the aviation maintenance, aircraft structural, or avionics programs at South Georgia Technical College contact the admissions office at 229-931-2394 or contact Instructors Victoria Herron at email@example.com; Charles Christmas at firstname.lastname@example.org or Stephen Griffin at email@example.com. Registration for Fall Semester will be held on July 14th and August 11th. Classes started August 15th.