Youngstown State University has announced the takeover of a flight school for students at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport in Vienna Township.

During a Western Reserve Port Authority (WRPA) meeting Wednesday morning, YSU President Bill Johnson appeared via Zoom to formally announce the takeover. 

WRPA Executive Director Anthony Trevena tells 21 News the program originated at Eastern Gateway Community College with eight students already enrolled in it.

However, following the recent pause in enrollment for Eastern Gateway, the program has transitioned to YSU.

Trevena says this program is a long time coming for the Mahoning Valley since Youngstown has not trained any new pilots for quite some time. Trevena adds that due to a pilot shortage, this program is especially necessary.

Enrollment is now open for any student interested in getting into the program. Trevena says the cost is roughly $19,000, which covers ground instruction, flight instruction and simulation training.

Additionally, the program offers multiple different levels from private to instrument to commercial to multi-engine certifications. 

Lead program instructor Joe Maxin tells 21 News the instructors in the program have thousands of hours in experience and offer "top quality instruction" comparable to other schools like Penn State or Ohio State.

Anyone interested in applying for the program should email Maxin at [email protected]. Tours of the program can also be requested at this email as well.

Maxin and Travena told 21 News they're excited to create the first "flying penguins."