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Taku ChitekesheAerospace engineering student Taku Chitekeshe has earned his private pilot’s licence.

Pilot’s course helps engineering students take wing

It’s always been Taku Chitekeshe’s dream to design aircraft.

The mechanical engineering student never thought one day he’d be flying them.

Thanks to a partnership between UWindsor’s Faculty of Engineering and the Aeronautics Leadership Program housed in the University’s Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Chitekeshe is the first student specializing in aerospace engineering who has completed his Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL).

“The first time I flew alone, I felt accomplished,” Chitekeshe says. “It has been intriguing to learn how aircrafts are designed, but after getting the experience to fly an airplane, my dream job would be to combine those two aspects — to design aircrafts and to test them.”

Chitekeshe now wants to pursue a career as a chief test pilot.

“The concepts that were taught went beyond the scope of the course, enabling me to learn more,” he says. “Especially after flying and getting to see all the different airplanes in greater detail at the airport, it became so much easier for me to understand the concepts.”

UWindsor’s two-semester PPL course, offered in partnership with Journey Air housed at Windsor International Airport, is now open to mechanical engineering students in the aerospace option.

Students complete most of their ground school training during their off semester in the fall of their third year and begin to build flight time to prepare for a 150 nautical mile solo flight. Once aspiring pilots pass a written exam from Transport Canada and reach at least 45 hours of flight training, they can take a final flight test to complete the course.

Jennifer Johrendt, the engineering faculty’s assistant dean of student affairs, says there are plans to condense the course so that it can be completed in its entirety in the fall semester. In addition, students can obtain one technical elective credit towards their accredited engineering degree.

“The most exciting part of this whole experience for me was getting to sit in the cockpit and to be in control,” Chitekeshe says.

“It’s been such a breath-taking experience being in the air and getting to see Windsor and the surrounding towns from a different perspective.”

—Kristie Pearce

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