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Saint Louis University's Aviation Program?

Sun Oct 13, 2002 11:04 am

Has anybody heard about St. Louis' aviation program, and the pros and cons of it.. How does the program stack up to one like Riddle's or Purdue's? If anyone could give me more information, it would be appreciated...
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RE: Saint Louis University's Aviation Program?

Sun Oct 13, 2002 3:09 pm

I plan on going to the University of North Dakota for my masters.. I hear they are number one in the nation for Aviation.
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RE: Saint Louis University's Aviation Program?

Sun Oct 13, 2002 3:59 pm


Luck you, I'm a SLU student. AND I'm in the aviation science program at Park's College. haha

Parks College (http://parks.slu.edu) is one of the oldest, if not THE oldest, flight schools in the US. It was started by Oliver Parks, a good buddy of Charles Lindburgh. Saint Louis University acquired it some years back. US News and World report ranks their aerospace engineering program as one of the top 5 undergrad programs in the nation, in case you were wondeirng.

I started out in the aerospace engineering program but quickly realized I did not like it and would rather be flying. So I applied for and was granted a transfer into aviation science. Since I was a year behind, I opted to get my private license though another flight school over the summer in order to be on track for the sophomore year course outline.

I'm very impressed with SLU and Parks College. I went to a Jesuit highschool, which is one of the reasons I picked SLU over Embry-Riddle. The school is in midtown St. Louis, and the airport and flight ops building is in Cahokia, IL, just across the river.

The flight program is very intense and very regimented. You have to be serious about it or you will quickly fall behind and that doesn't make anyone happy. They use Sacota Tampicos for primary trainers and brand-spankin'-new Piper Seminoles for multi-engine and commercial training.

As for how it compares to the likes of Embry-Riddle or Purdue, I can't tell you. I've heard that SLU's is pretty close, though Embry-Riddle and the likes, according to some people, are marginally better. Though I think the difference is pretty much negligable.

The program at SLU is no where near the size as some other universities, but I wouldn't call it small, either. And that's not entirely a bad thing. Everyone knows each other in the aviation program. Scheduling a plane is not impossible, there is usually atleast one plane available. The instructors are all friendly and most graduated from Parks, so they know how things work.

SLU's biggest selling point for me was that it is an actual university. Embry-Riddle, as good as it is, always seemed like too much of a trade school. You don't get a very well-rounded education there, only aviation. SLU is a liberal arts school. Only half of my classes are aviation. ALl students are required to take one theology course. And the course outline for aviation science includes several English/lit. courses, management courses, economics, psychology, etc. And you can easily dual-major in management if you so desire.

So, there ya go. I'm sure most of this is pretty incoherant. Hey, it's late! If there is more you would like to know, feel free to ask. I'll try to come back and makemyself clearer, tomorrow, when I am more awake.

SLU's a great school with lots to offer. If you decide the aviation thing isn't for you, you can major in anything from several kinds of engineering, medicine, law, english, pretty much any major offered by most universities. We've even got a great business school that's really taking off.
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RE: Saint Louis University's Aviation Program?

Sun Oct 13, 2002 4:59 pm

Hey, there. I was hoping to be the first to post an answer, but looks like Shaun3000 beat me! I was an Aviation Science major at SLU for 2 years before transferring back here to the University of San Diego.

You couldn't pick a better place. Like mentioned above, SLU is an actual university. Whereas Embry Riddle is 100% aviation, it is very immersed in it. SLU has everything, and you get immersed in aviation, but you are equally exposed to college and college life.

Also, the costs of flying, plane rentals, airport usage, and all that is included in tuition. So an aviation student pays the same tuition as a nursing, math, business, and theology student. It's not your fault that your classroom is 2 miles long with approach lights.

This was my day as an Aviation Science major while flying:

-wake up 6am for my 730am class.
-catch free SLU shuttle from campus to airport in Illinois
-arrive at airport by 725am.
-get my flight plan and gear from the main desk at the airport
-meet with my flight instructor
-we go over the day's itinerary including procedures
-preflight checklist
-taxi, takeoff, fly, land
-postflight checklist
-meet with instructor and go over what we just did
-ask questions
-catch shuttle back to main campus

So it's a very regimented program. And not to steal from Shaun3000, but if you lag behind, you will not be happy. I'm proof of that. After the great experience SLU gave me of letting me fly, I realized that I didn't want to be in the cockpit anymore. As a result, I decided to stop flying at the end of the semester. That meant flying for a month when I didn't want to fly anymore. It's BAD news flying when you don't care, because you don't pay attention. I guess my point is that if you want to do it, then it's the best program for you, and if not, then get out when you can.

Oh, also, when I was there, 1999-2001, TWA would come to SLU first, looking for people who'd like to do internships at STL. So there's that opportunity too.

I left SLU because I am born and raised in Los Angeles, and LA is a super fast paced city, compared to a slower midwest town. I'd say that if you're from the midwest or used to that life, then there's no problem... but big city life will lure you right back home.

I really hope you look in to SLU because there's just nothing like it. It's a university and a flight school. And like Shaun3000 said, if you don't want to do aviation at SLU, then you can take your pick at other majors. And you get to meet people of all interests... something you may not get at Embry Riddle.

My posts/replies are strictly my opinion and not that of any company, organization, or Southwest Airlines.
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RE: Saint Louis University's Aviation Program?

Mon Oct 14, 2002 3:04 am


St. Louis isn't exactly a little, podunk town! While it's no LA, I'm from Dallas (a VERY large and fast-paced city) and St. Louis wasn't much of a change for me.
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RE: Saint Louis University's Aviation Program?

Mon Oct 14, 2002 3:35 am


Hey... Thanks a lot for the response, as well as QANTAS747-438's too.. They were very informative... Like you, I am at a Jesuit school, and should get some really good money to attend SLU if I decide to go there (my #1 college is the Air Force Academy). I'm from NYC, but think I could adapt to SLU's life...
Are you allowed to have a car on campus? and if so, does it make it easier and all to commute to and from the airport... As far as training goes, does it take all 4 years to complete the program? Also, what type of job placement is available after graduation...
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RE: Saint Louis University's Aviation Program?

Mon Oct 14, 2002 3:50 am

Hey, I go to SLU too.

I would say that overall, I am HAPPY (I keep telling myself that everyday) I picked this school over Riddle and Purdue.

I am in the dual degree program, aviation management and professional pilot.

Some of the good items:

Right now the aviation programs are experiencing no student growth. We are accepting the same amount of students as last year and year before.

Quality of the product has improved and will improve as the Flight Training Director implements more procedural changes.

The programs is unique from the business side. I enjoy being able to communicate with non-pilots/aviation majors. I joined AKPsi (professional business organization) and APO (service organization). Most of my friends were in scholar programs not related to aviation. It's fun to be able to go out and know people in other disciplines.

Student life is constantly improving. When I arrived here four years ago, the campus was very different in attitude and atmosphere. If you apply for next year, the campus will be different too. It is ever changing. There are 10000 students and a population of about 800000 within the city. In the region there are about 2 million people. SLU is just one of about 6 universities in the city and there are 4 community colleges (read take cheaper classes and transfer the credit)

The Tampicos will remain in the fleet for a few years, they will be getting an interior makeover soon. If you do visit, you will see two ex-Embry-Riddle craft we purchased over the past 3 years.

The faculty is very smart

Because St. Louis is a larger city. I am able to just hop a flight to visit people in other cities (WN and AA usually have tickets priced from $60-250 roundtrip). City life is slightly annoying (Missouri people are slightly unique). You'll find the city has a lot to offer, whether it's sports, music, festivals, or traveling.

Bad items:

The faculty is very smart. Some are too smart for their own good.

Many of them have left over the past three years (two chief instructors, a lot of faculty) Most of them are a year, if not months from retiring. That just means that new people will be taking their place, redeveloping the class.

Internship are interesting. For Av. Management, you are required to do an internship, which means you can choose between two internships (Trans States Airlines or Corporate) or create your own WITHIN THE AVIATION INDUSTRY. IMO, I would rather be able to create my own business internship and learn what I can and bring that into my aviation career.

There is little to none instructor turnover. This was different two years ago and depends on the business cycle. You have to find an instructor that fits with you. There are about 25 instructors. I've had eight instructors over the course of my instruction, 4 of them are still are at Parks. Of them each has over 1500 hours total time. Two are currently flying, ATR and EMB-145. Two more are flying Dash-8s and 737s.

Some of the FAA Designated Examiners don't like Parks. Some of them don't like certain flight instructors. Some of them don't like our teaching or procedures, you'll find this out as you get acclimated to the program. I just passed my Multi-Engine commercial FAA the other day. You'll just have to look around.
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RE: Saint Louis University's Aviation Program?

Mon Oct 14, 2002 5:37 am

Yes, you can have a car on campus. Parking is a pain, especially on the west end of campus, which is where most of the dorms are. The student government is working on the issue. One proposed idea was to require all freshmen to park in teh large parking garage at the far east end of campus. But that didn't pass because it would affect current freshmen. Although it doesn't look like it will pass, either. Unlike many schools, freshmen are currently allowed the same parking privelages as the rest of the student body. And while certain people are in the SGA, that doesn't look like it will change any time soon.
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RE: Saint Louis University's Aviation Program?

Mon Oct 14, 2002 2:44 pm

St. Louis University has an excellent aviation program and is an excellent school. I was going to go there for av. mgmt. but after attending summer school there I changed my mind and am going to a local university for a year before transferring. I had three problems with SLU:
1) It is in one of the worst neighborhoods in St. Louis, although they have an excellent security presence, the area around the school is awful. You never feel comfortable walking outside of campus or to the train station, especially at night. A friend of mine was mugged a couple blocks from school.
2) The nightlife in STL was bad, there are only a couple places around SLU that are halfway decent and even those places can be pretty seedy. The only cool place in STL was Delmar.
3) Alot of the dorms and such were pretty run down, aside from the Student Apartments.

It is a really good school, and I chose it over Embry for the precise reason as stated above, Embry felt like a trade school while SLU seemed like it had a normal university setting. However, I just felt that the city wasnt a good fit for me, and for my parents paying around $35k a year to send me there I actually wanted to have a good college experience besides my studies.

America's chickens are coming home to rooooost!
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RE: Saint Louis University's Aviation Program?

Mon Oct 14, 2002 3:16 pm

Do you guys know the status of the old Cahokia campus? I am an Avionics/AME graduate from the class of 1990.
This plane is built to withstand anything... except a bad pilot.
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RE: Saint Louis University's Aviation Program?

Tue Oct 15, 2002 12:32 am


What dorms did you stay in? They are all very nice, in my opinion.

No, the school isn't in the best part of town, but it's no where near as bad some other areas. I wouldn't call it the "worst part of St. Louis." If you want bad, try East St. Louis or going to the north part of the city of St. Louis. Now THAT'S bad! However, if you are not comfortable living in a poorer area or living near lower-class people, then SLU is not for you. It's not like SMU in Dallas, which is right in the middle of Highland Park, which is probably the second-wealthiest area of the country, next to Beverly Hills.


The Cahokia campus is no more. I don't know if it is still vacant or if it has been sold, but they moved Parks College to the Frost Campus several years ago. It resides on the far east end of campus, by the soccer fields. Most of the classes are in McDonnell Douglas hall, a very nice building. Very interesting architectural design. Directly across from MDH, to the south, is another building that houses all of the aeronautical engineering labs. Wind tunnels, etc. There's another building a few blocks off campus that has all of the airframe and powerplant stuff. And finally, the Center for Aviation Sciences is still at CPS, but only flight operations remain. Ground school is now on campus.
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RE: Saint Louis University's Aviation Program?

Tue Oct 15, 2002 12:40 am

lol.. I'm from NYC, and spend most of my time in the Bronx, so I doubt I'll have any trouble adjusting to life around the campus... All the replies make SLU out to be a really good aviation school... sure there are some negatives, but you'll find those with every school.. thanks!
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RE: Saint Louis University's Aviation Program?

Tue Oct 15, 2002 2:13 am

I stayed in Fusz.

East St. Louis probably is the worst neighborhood in the country, however, the neighborhood around SLU is just a terrible place. It really is the ghetto. I have no problem being in lower class areas, just for what you shell out at SLU you'd think that the school would have some clout with the city to get some positive development around the school. Its just a depressing environment.

The Highland/University Park areas of Dallas are not even in the top 10 richest neighborhoods...You can still find houses there for $300k...in some cities in Ca. and the northeast you cant find anything under $700k. SMU isnt in Highland Park either, it is University Park. SMU is awesome, they have to have some of the hottest girls in the country! When I go to my parents house over the weekends, SMU is an awesome place to party.
America's chickens are coming home to rooooost!
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RE: Saint Louis University's Aviation Program?

Tue Oct 15, 2002 3:37 am

Texas girls are the best looking.

Huh, you're right. I live right down the street from SMU, just outside the Park Cities. I never saw any University Park signs, just Highland Park signs. Oops. University Park, Highland Park, they're the same thing.

And while you can get a crappy, run-down house in the Park Cities for around $300,000, that's as cheap as they come. But regardless of how much they gouge you for property, the money in the families in Highland Park is quite alot. I am positive that it rivals that of Beverly Hills. In terms of the wealth of the population, the Park Cities are some of the wealthiest in the country.

Anyway, back to SLU

I live in Fusz and it's not at all run down. I don't know what your definition of run down is. While the amenities are rather basic (bed, chair, closet, dresser, and desk) they rooms are nice and the dorms are well-kept. It's nothing fancy, but it's not delapidated, either.

As for the area, I don't know that there's much the city could do. SLU is in midtown St. Louis, at one time the entertainment center of the city. OF course, that was long ago and anyone with money now lives in the suburbs, I suppose because they can afford the $100 in gas each week they spend driving the 40 mile round trip to and from the city... SLU is in an urban setting, only a few miles from downtown. Yes, it's ghetto, but it is not as bad as many places I've been. Trust me, I've seen MUCH worse than the area around SLU.

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