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International Airport Industry Executives Gain Knowledge and Contacts at Ohio State Airport and Dept. of Aviation

Posted: May 16, 2011

Last month students, staff and faculty of The Ohio State University Department of Aviation met at the Ohio State
Graduate student Meredith Frederick (left) helps airport industry executives get a feel for flight at the Ohio Airport.
University Airport with a delegation of 18 aviation industry executives from seven former Soviet Union countries. The international decision-makers were participating in the U.S. Department of Commerce Special American Business Internship Training Program (SABIT) Airport Development session. The SABIT participants were in the United States to learn best practices in airport development, management, operations, safety and equipment.

“It was an honor to be chosen as a site for the delegation’s visit to the U.S.,” says Doug Hammon, airport director. “The Ohio State Airport is recognized throughout Ohio and the nation as a leading general aviation airport. Now, we are viewed for our leadership on the global scale.”

Becky Long, SABIT Program International Trade Specialist, added, “Although the SABIT Program included visits to airports throughout the Midwestern and Southern states, the tour of the Ohio State Airport gave the participants a unique opportunity to visit a university aviation department/airport.”

Since the SABIT Program provided an opportunity for the delegates to create partnerships with U.S industry, the group was interested in learning about Ohio State’s leadership role in the aviation industry from Seth Young, Interim Director of the Center for Aviation Studies. Discussion included the current aviation-related academic and research initiatives taking place at Ohio State, as well as potential partnerships between Ohio State in the areas of airport planning and operations training.

“Our interaction with the SABIT delegation was an excellent example of how our airport, department and Center for Aviation Studies contributes to Ohio State’s increasing international reputation,” says Young. “Part of the center’s mission is to enhance research and industry partnerships in areas of importance to the aviation industry. We’re proud to accomplish this mission whether it’s working with companies based here in Central Ohio, or with partners around the world. Aviation is truly global, and we’re happy to be a part of this exciting venture.”

According to the delegates, highlights of the airport tour included looking inside the flight school’s planes, as well as getting the feel for the controls of the Redbird flight simulator.

“They really got a kick out of our planes,” says Alex Mulac, a second-year aviation engineering student/professional pilot. “One of the delegates called out, ‘Mr. President, Mr. President,’ to one of their colleagues as he stood proudly at the door of a Piper Arrow.”

During the tour, Mulac, along with fellow tour guides Samantha Besancon, first-year aviation management and Meredith Frederick, an aviation management and geography graduate student, answered questions from the delegates to help them get a thorough picture of American collegiate aviation.

“The delegates were not afraid to ask questions,” says Besancon. “The experience was beneficial for those of us giving the tours as well as for the delegation.”

In addition to visiting the Ohio State University Airport, the delegation spent three weeks traveling to regions and cities across the country to meet with leading U.S. airports, equipment manufacturers, and other industry representatives.