Starting this semester, the college of Aeronautics received a new dean, Dr. Ken Stackpoole.
Needless to say, I was quite excited to meet him. I figured you all would like to do the same, so he was gracious enough to sit down with me and answer a few questions about himself and the College of Aeronautics.
Welcome back to the College of Aeronautics. Since you held your position a few years ago, what are some positive changes you’ve noticed implemented?
“Since I have been back, I have noticed a number of changes, many of which I had helped set up the groundwork for when I held the position in 2007. The college has refreshed its fleet, adding new Piper Warriors with glass cockpits and new simulators. A new flight center was built at the airport and new technology has been phased in.” We have a wonderful cadre of faculty who are eager to prepare our students for the aviation industry.
What has your work at other flight institutions given you to apply here at FIT’s flight program?
“Thirty years of doing managerial work in the aeronautics sector at other flight schools and in the industry gave me a good depth of knowledge of how a flight school should be run; what works and what doesn’t is knowledge that only comes with experience.”
For a prospective student interested in getting flight certificates and ratings, what advice would you give them before coming to FIT?
“For those incoming students, I recommend getting as much experience and exposure to aviation as you can. When I was a kid, I used to build model airplanes and fly them. As I grew up, I landed a job as a line guy refueling aircraft. All of those helped give me the motivation and knowledge to progress further into the industry. Even mowing the grass at your local airport can help. Other options include the Boy Scouts with their Aviation Merit Badge and the Civil Air Patrol with their unique involvement in aviation and the community. Getting a Private Pilot’s Certificate helps as well; you can never get too much exposure to aviation before arriving in the program.”
Since our university stands behind being “High Tech with a Human Touch,” what new technologies are being used in the College of Aero and at the airport that incorporate this commitment?
“The school’s motto of “High Tech with a Human Touch” extends out into the aeronautics department as well. Recently, the airport received two new simulators for the school’s Piper Seminole aircraft. These simulators help the students learn maneuvers on the ground before spending money in the air. It’s cheaper, safer and better. In addition to that, we have a state of the art scheduling system for the 40+ aircraft fleet which is being flown around the clock. In the classroom, many teachers are currently utilizing iPads, online lecture supplements, community folders (such as DropBox) and classroom Facebook groups to keep everybody up-to-date on the material. “
As more of a personal aspect to his career in aviation, I asked him what aircraft he has flown and enjoyed the most.
“The largest aircraft I have flown is the King Air and the fastest airplane I have flown is the T-38. The most fun? The Mooney M20. It’s a sleek, fast, piston aircraft with a lot of power and very fun to fly. I have over 2,000 hours in the Seminole and even more in various other aircraft.”
Thanks to Dr. Stackpoole for allowing me to interview him for my blog.