NewsLocal News


Cuesta College students getting real-life aircraft experience

Posted at 4:38 PM, Feb 16, 2023

A first-of-its-kind aviation maintenance technician program at Cuesta College has taken off with its first cohort.

Bryan Neff is one of 25 students spending about 24 hours every week in this classroom.

Neff said he first heard about the aviation maintenance technician program class during his senior year of high school.

“I had no idea what I was going to do after high school and then I took the tour and that was one thing that really stood out that I wanted to do," Neff said.

“This is a vocational course for students at Cuesta and they come out prepared to test for the aircraft mechanical licensing with the Federal Aviation Administration," said course instructor Eric Endersby.

It’s a 19-month-long course.

“We are teaching them not just how to use tools and how to work on aircraft but where to find the information," Endersby added.

Part of the class is spent on lectures and the other half is hands-on — students work on aircraft donated to the school.

“For me, I was never the type of person to sit down in class, listen to a long lecture and then take a test. I am very more hands-on so I think having the airplanes and equipment outside is a great opportunity for all of us," Neff said.

It's an opportunity that opens the door to countless career paths.

For Neff, it’s sparking an interest in what he now says will be his future career.

“I hope to hopefully work at ACI or any other local aviation businesses," Neff said.

Funding for the program came from different sources including the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors and ACI Jet, each offering $500,000 to help launch the class.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for careers associated with the program is $95,000.