Winegardner ready to fly high


High school graduation speeches are often full of references to students “taking flight,” but CM senior Tyler Winegardner is taking that literally.

Winegardner has been accepted into Southern Utah University’s helicopter pilot program.

“I have been intrigued by flight for as long as I can remember,” he said. He likes helicopters “because they are the coolest and most interesting form of flight.”

Winegardner did some research on flight schools and was drawn to SUU because of its reputation and unique offerings for aviation students. At 5,622 feet above sea level, Southern Utah is home to the the highest altitude university flight school in the U.S. and has the biggest helicopter fleet.

When Winegardner graduates, he’ll be certified as a commercial helicopter pilot and a certified helicopter instructor pilot.

According to the SUU website, a shortage of helicopter pilots is expected in the near future: “From 2020 to 2036, the demand for helicopter pilots is expected to soar, leaving shortages of upwards of 49,000 pilots, according to major aviation companies like Boeing and Airbus.”

SUU is in Cedar City, Utah. The school’s mascot is the “T-Birds.”

Move-in day for Winegardner is August 27.