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Pilot groundwork class a step toward flying

Skip Goss (left)  Waukegan flight instructor student Chap Waters Lake Forest private plane Waukegan Regional Airport.  Goss is

Skip Goss (left) , a Waukegan flight instructor, and student Chap Waters of Lake Forest in a private plane at Waukegan Regional Airport. Goss is a COllege of Lake County pilot ground instructor. | Submitted photo

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The Course

The 15 week non-credit Private Pilot Ground School course will be held on Wednesdays from 6 to 9 p.m. through Dec. 18. It is offered by Continuing Professional Development, part of CLC’s Workforce and Professional Development Institute. Cost for the course is $499.

For more information, visit or call (847) 543-2615.

Updated: October 8, 2013 6:09AM

GRAYSLAKE — Making it up into the wild blue yonder requires some groundwork, and the College of Lake County is helping to lay that foundation for students who want to see their career or hobby literally take off.

The Private Pilot Ground School class offered at CLC is a first step for those seeking a career in aviation or the thrill of recreational flying. It also offers an affordable local avenue for students to help fill the expected demand for a new generation of pilots.

“It’s a way to start out compared to going to a large flight school,” said Lyle Holbo, a former commercial pilot and flight instructor who teaches the class along with Waukegan flight instructor Skip Goss. “Just having a local college with aviation certainly could provide a lot of advantages to Lake County and McHenry County.”

Holbo, who holds the FAA’s highest pilot rating, said major airlines are recalling pilots and signs point toward a need for commercial pilots in the near future.

“It does appear there’s going to be a pilot shortage,” he said. “I don’t think too many guys are in the pipeline with the qualifications.”

Holbo and Goss are teaching the class for 16 weeks from 6 to 9 p.m. each Wednesday night. The class began last Wednesday, but those interested can still participate if they register in time to make the class this Wednesday, Sept. 11.

Goss, president of Skill Aviation, a flight school out of Waukegan Regional Airport, and a flight instructor with more than 25 years of experience, said aviation training can be a real asset for young people, including teens.

“Learning to fly an airplane is life-changing experience for a young person,” Goss said. “Flight training builds character, confidence, and a sense of responsibility that will help him or her grow into a successful young adult.”

The course prepares students to take the FAA Private Pilot Knowledge Test, after which they can continue to pursue their private pilot license through a certified flight school.

Students prepare for the exam and their first flight by learning about flight navigation, safety, emergency procedures, meteorology, runway and airspace logistics and FAA regulations. They also become acquainted with aircraft components, preventive maintenance, aerodynamics and the physics of aviation that make flight possible.

Michael Garmoni, program coordinator for CLC’s Workforce and Professional Development Institute, said the class also utilizes desktop flight simulators that the students can practice with at home on their own computers.

Garmoni said the school wants to expand its offering next year with a higher-level flight class, although there are no plans to start up an actual flight school.

“It’s an exciting program. It’s going to grow,” he said.

Goss said the ground class is a relatively inexpensive way to get to start aviation training whether the student has a career or a hobby in mind.

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s awesome,” Goss said.

Holbo said he learned to fly in 1959, worked as a flight instructor and then was a pilot with Atlantic Coast Airlines from 1988 to 2002. He said he is happy the school contacted him about the teaching opportunity.

“I’m going to enjoy this class,” he said. “I’ve done a lot of flight instruction, but I’m getting back in the saddle for fun.”

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