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First in Flight

Ohio State Mansfield quietly rolled out the first two courses last year of what soon could lead to an Aviation Studies degree program. Intended to provide courses of value to nearby 179th Airlift Wing at Mansfield Lahm Airport, the courses quickly gained popularity with students from across Northeast Ohio.

Students from Medina County, Cleveland, Youngstown and Dublin attended the first classes conducted at the campus.

“We are the first and only regional campus to offer aviation classes,” said Ohio State Mansfield Dean and Director Stephen Gavazzi. “We hope to expand the program to include a flight school. Mansfield Lahm Airport has the facilities to make it happen.”

The first class that was added, AV 2000 Introduction to the Aviation Industry, also includes some history of aviation.

“This course can be used as an elective for almost any major,” said Randy McCoy, a retired Air National Guard instructor pilot who was hired to teach the courses. “It’s a good introduction for anyone who is interested in aviation.”

The second class, AV 2100 Private Pilot Fundamentals, commonly called ground school, is offered at the campus during the spring semester. The for-credit course also prepares students to take the private pilot written exam, which is required by the FAA prior to taking flight lessons.

Most of the students in McCoy’s classes this past year have already indicated they plan to pursue studies in aviation at the Ohio State Center for Aviation Studies.

Grant Derifield, from Dublin, finished AV 2100 at Mansfield and is now taking a flight laboratory class at the Center.

“The class prepared me well,” Derifield said. “It was great to take what I learned from the book and apply it to the plane.”

Derifield plans to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration: Aviation Management through Fisher College of Business. His goal is to fly for a major airline or private company.

“I hope Ohio State Mansfield adds more aviation classes,” he said. “It would be awesome to have a regional campus with a flight school.”