Go (Fly) Fighting Irish!
While the Fighting
Irish's 9-2 record in football this season is nothing to sneeze at,
Aero-News is more excited to learn three former students of the
fabled Notre Dame University have helped bring back an elective
course at the college that helps teach students how to fly.
The elective course, which had ended in the late 70s as no
professor remained to teach it, was revived in recent years by
former Notre Dame students (and current pilots) Joe Friel, Jeff
Newcamp and Brian McCarthy.
According to the Notre Dame/St. Mary's College Observer, the
three men taught the undergraduate course while they attended the
college, under the tutelage of Air Force ROTC professor Col.
Michael Zenk. Zenk continues to oversee the program today.
The course, a ground school program that counts towards the FAA
private pilot license, is currently taught by Dillon senior Lauren
"I got involved my freshman year when I saw the posters for
NDPI." said Centioli, a CFI who is majoring in accounting,
according to the Notre Dame website. "Since [Friel] was graduating
that year, the course would have ceased to exist if I had not come
around. He asked me if would teach it and I said yes."
"We cover everything needed for a private pilot's license,"
Centioli added. "Other programs teach you just what you need to
know to pass the private pilot's exam, [but] this class goes above
and beyond that."
The course covers the same areas as a standard flight school
ground program does, Centioli said, which then allows a student to
go on and train in the cockpit with their written test already
taken care of.
The course is fairly popular for an elective, with 18 students
currently registered for the course in the spring -- nearly triple
the number who had enrolled in the fall. Centioli said there is
room for 30 students.
Although the course is run by the ROTC, it is intended for
civilians -- students need not be in the armed forces to take
"If more people knew people about the class, more people would
take it," Centioli said. "The supply is there to meet the demand,"
adding the cost of the course is already covered by a student's
In addition to the valuable classroom experience, Centioli has
brought in guest speakers such Elkhart EAA President Sam Pavel, and
Col. Mel DeMar, a former Marine One pilot who served two tours in
which he transported now-former Presidents Jimmy Carter, Gerald
Ford, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Students have also visited
the tower at South Bend Regional Airport (SBN).
AS 30098 is offered Monday and Wednesday afternoons at the
university, according to the Observer.