Just when it looked as if Mercer County Community College’s aviation program was about to be grounded indefinitely, the school has partnered with Royal Karina Air Service (RKAS), based at Trenton Mercer Airport. RKAS will operate the flight training component of the college’s aviation flight technology program when classes resume for the fall semester on Monday, August 29.

RKAS, which has been training pilots for more than 20 years, will provide aircraft, flight instructors, facilities and other tools and materials for student use at the airport. MCCC’s aviation program trains students to become professional pilots, and is the only one of its kind in the region.

The program, however, has suffered sustained budget troubles over the past few years as funding for the program has dwindled. MCCC president Patricia Donohue said the arrangement with RKAS makes the program “viable for the long term and costs will be controlled.”

MCCC’s chief pilot, Judie Stillwagon, will continue to manage student training, and RKAS plans to hire several existing MCCC flight instructors and invest in a new facility at Trenton Airport.

Mercer County Community College, 1200 Old Trenton Road, Box B, Trenton 08690; 609-586-4800; fax, 609-570-3845. Patricia Donohue, president. www.mccc.edu

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