Larsen’s Legacy

How Greg Larsen built an A&P school in Maryland

The program is expected to start in January or early February and will enroll 25 students in its initial class, Mader said. Additional groups of 25 to 50 students can begin training every four months, he said.

I called Dr. Jim Mader to ask what had helped PIA commit to a program at HGR. He said that they had considered “several key factors.” PIA had drawn a theoretical “circle” of influence around Pittsburgh and felt that it would be in its best interest to manage programs within that geographic area. HGR “fell within that circle and was a fit for the school’s business model. Another key factor was “touring the field and meeting the local aviation company managers face to face, and hearing them express their need for technicians.” Dr. Mader also said that “Greg and Anne certainly piqued our interest” in the opportunity.

Is there more work to do, always? Will it all get done, you bet.

A May 27, 2010 Herald-Mail editorial framed it this way, ”Among the positive changes at the airport, the aviation school has to be ranked as one of the more important to come along in recent history.

“Economically speaking, this has been a rough couple of years in Washington County, as has been the case just about everywhere. When a light such as this is able to shine in the middle of ongoing financial doldrums, it points to a bright future when the economy eventually gets back on its feet.

“As such, we send our thanks both to the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics and to all those who worked so hard to make the school a soon-to-be reality. And best of all, the airport will turn a downward work force spiral into an upward spiral: The more workers we train, the more aviation companies will be likely to open up shop here — creating the need for more aviation students.”

Congratulations to Larsen and the HGR crew for understanding the vital role that qualified AMTs play in HGR’s economic growth and vitality, and persevering to get a new education facility that will produce more A&Ps and reciprocally, more jobs in aviation for those new A&Ps.

I like Larsen’s new vision — that all the PIA AMT grads will find quality jobs at HGR. I wonder how his airplane designing grandfather, Agnew E. Larsen, would feel about his grandson envisioning and driving the creation of a new school for aerospace technicians in HGR. My guess — he would be very proud. AMT

Charles Chandler is AMT’s Field Editor. He received his A&P from Spartan College of Aeronautics.

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