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Miami Dade College’s School of Aviation Soaring to New Heights

Aviation simulators

MDC School of Aviation students get hands-on experience on state-of-the-art air traffic control simulators

Miami, June 10, 2010 - Miami Dade College’s (MDC) Eig-Watson School of Aviation was among the first in the nation to be granted AT-CTI (Air Traffic Control Collegiate Training Inititiative) status by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). In a 10-year strategic plan, the FAA announced it will need to hire nearly 11,000 air traffic controllers by 2019. The growing demand is mainly due to more air traffic controllers beginning to retire. Many of the more than 300 students enrolled at MDC’s aviation school are studying to become air traffic controllers.

Most recently, the school installed new, state-of-the-art air traffic control simulators at the Homestead Campus, where the School of Aviation is based. The nearly 38,000-square-feet aviation building at the Homestead Campus houses the new en route and terminal radar simulators and a 180-degree air traffic control tower simulator.

“There are a lot of jobs out there for air traffic controllers and they are very well paid,” said Diana Lewis, director of the Eig-Watson School of Aviation. “With this advanced simulator technology, our excellent faculty, and with internships offered at FAA facilities at Miami International Airport, the students at the MDC Eig-Watson School of Aviation are well positioned to successfully compete for future air traffic control positions.”

In addition to the aviation administration program, the School of Aviation offers degrees in professional pilot technology and aviation maintenance management. College Certificates are also offered for Air Cargo Agent, Airline/Aviation Management, Airport Management and Passenger Service Agent.  In addition to the Homestead Campus, classes are offered at Kendall-Tamiami Airport and Miami International Airport, where students can experience aviation first hand by just stepping outside their classroom buildings. 

MDC has been providing aviation training for more than 40 years. In 1995, the School of Aviation was named in honor of Lois Eig-Watson and her husband Harvey Watson, both avid supporters of the flight program. Through the philanthropy of this couple, yearly scholarships are provided to help offset the high cost of flight training.  In April, $52,500 was awarded to seven students studying to become commercial pilots.

The Eig-Watson School is so highly respected that its faculty regularly provides training to air traffic controllers around the globe. In fact, it has trained several classes of air traffic controllers from China.


For more information on the Eig-Watson School of Aviation, please contact Diana Lewis at 305-237-5911,



Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611,, MDC communications director
Tere Estorino, 305-237-3949,, MDC media relations director
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710,, media specialist
Tarnell Carroll, 305-237-3359,, media specialist
Alejandro Rios, 305-237-7482,

Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Miami Dade College.
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