Looking for a career in aviation? Look no further than the University of North Texas.

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FROM DA VINCI’S man-powered helicopter to early-20th-century rabble-rousers who frantically flapped fabricated wings, mankind failed in just about every way imaginable to master the art of flying before the Wright brothers finally came along and got it right. And even then, from the legend of Icarus’ melting wings to Amelia Earhart’s mysterious flight, the message has always been clear: Flying isn’t easy. But leave it to one of Texas’ most trendsetting universities to try to prove the opposite. This fall, the University of North Texas is introducing its Bachelor of Science in Aviation Logistics program, which will offer students an education that focuses on the role of aviation in the transportation sector of the economy. While the program offers a traditional “flying track” for those interested in piloting aircraft (including an education on how one reads weather patterns and executes a preflight, multipoint safety check), the brunt of the course highlights a nonflying track that will focus on the remaining 85 percent of the aviation industry: those people behind the scenes doing the decision making and supervision of everything required to successfully lead a flying business, including planning flight schedules, dispatching flights, managing safety and maintenance programs, marketing aviation services, and designing and manufacturing aviation equipment.

Program director Steve Swartz, Ph.D., wrote the curriculum for the state-of-the-art program, and he considers it a game changer not only for prospective students but also for employers.

“The focus of our program is the preparation of the aviation-industry leaders of the future,” he says. “We are tasked with the role of developing knowledge about aviation as a business by preparing students for the business of aviation.”

And with any luck, it could become one of the nation’s most successful and promising producers of aviation professionals.

This is a task that UNT is uniquely qualified for, given its location near Dallas and Fort Worth, one of the aviation industry’s largest hubs. The program, based in the College of Business at UNT, will be the first of its kind in Texas, and one of only a handful in the United States.

The whole process began just a couple of years ago, as a simple inquiry from the aviation industry and community leaders seeking to identify a shortfall between employment needs and the availability of skilled, experienced job candidates — a shortfall that was expected to worsen as the decade wore on. A charge was then issued for state institutions of higher education to respond with aviation-based programs, but none were interested.

That is, until UNT caught wind of the request.