Great Bay Community College Partners with Seacoast Helicopters to offer Two Year Aviation Technology degree

Great Bay Community College Partners with Seacoast Helicopters to offer Two Year Aviation Technology degree

Sent to media March 15, 2017

Great Bay Community College Partners with Seacoast Helicopters to offer Two Year Aviation Technology degree

Program preps students for an exhilarating career as a professional helicopter pilot

Portsmouth, NH – Great Bay Community College (GBCC) has partnered with Seacoast Helicopters to offer an innovative Aviation Technology Helicopter Associate in Science degree to fill a growing industry need for qualified helicopter pilots. The program combines classroom work with flight time through Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certifications required for a career as a professional pilot, while also offering education in science, math and liberal arts so graduates are career ready soon after completing the program.

“Partnering with Great Bay allows us to offer a truly unique experience for students who seek a career as a helicopter pilot. This is the only program of its kind in the northeast,” said Matt Hall, vice president of operations at Seacoast helicopters.

The classroom part of the program is taught by Seacoast Helicopter Instructors at GBCC and the hands on portion takes place at Seacoast Helicopter’s hangar and training spaces located one quarter mile from the College. During the first semester students complete the general education requirements while also being enrolled in Private Pilot Ground and Private Pilot Flight. During Private Pilot Flight, students work one on one with a flight instructor and fly a total of 35 hours in the first semester. This is coupled with Private Pilot Ground which is the classroom part of the program and complements the private pilot certification. At the completion of the second semester the student will receive their first certification as a Private Pilot. At the end of the two-year program, students have completed a total of 200 hours of flight time and receive FAA certifications as Commercial Pilot Helicopter, Instrument Pilot Helicopter, Certified Flight Instructor Helicopter and Instrument Instructor Helicopter.

Hall, who also teaches in the program knew he wanted to fly at a very early age.

“The attraction for me was the independence that a career as a professional helicopter pilot offered. You are trusted with multimillion dollar equipment, make split second decisions and have complete freedom,” Hall added. “Aviation is so versatile that graduates have the option of working anywhere in the world. It’s really a career like no other, especially for those who are adventure seekers.”

Students who graduate with an Associate in Science in Aviation Technology Helicopter can pursue a wide range of career options such as a flight instructor, law enforcement, search and rescue, emergency medical services (EMS – MedEvac), wildlife management, aerial crane and construction, oil rig support, tourism and charter, photography and even filming stunts in Hollywood.  And these are only a few of the many career options available to those who pursue a career as a helicopter pilot. Training also opens up employment opportunities in airport management and aviation maintenance.

“There are so many things I love about flying. I love being challenged and having the ability to see so many unique areas right from the helicopter,” said Keith Turgeon who will graduate from the program this year. Aviation can be hard, but overcoming these challenges couldn’t be any more rewarding. “Achieving my private pilot license was one of the biggest emotional highs I have ever had and I honestly can’t see myself doing anything else besides using this degree in many ways over the course of my lifetime.”

Experience is not necessary to enroll in the program at Great Bay Community College. Students can apply through April 15 for the next program, starting May 23. To learn more, visit or call 603-427-7600.

About GBCC

Great Bay Community College is a comprehensive postsecondary institution offering quality academic and professional and technical education in support of workforce development and lifelong learning. Great Bay Community College is part of the Community College System of New Hampshire, a public system of higher education consisting of seven colleges in Berlin, Claremont, Laconia, Concord, Manchester, Nashua, and Portsmouth. The colleges offer Associate degrees and career training in technical, professional and general fields, including transfer pathways to baccalaureate degrees. The college’s second campus, the Advanced Technology & Academic Center is now open in Rochester offering academic courses and a degree program in Advanced Composites Manufacturing. For more information on Great Bay Community College, visit

About Seacoast Helicopters

Seacoast Helicopters LLC is a helicopter flight service provider located in Portsmouth, NH at the Pease Airport. They are FAA certified as a part 135 Air Taxi service (Charter), part 133 External Load (Aerial Crane), part 141 Flight School, and part 91 Scenic Tour operator. Seacoast Helicopters operates Robinson R22, R44, and R66 helicopters; the most popular light helicopters in the world. Seacoast Helicopters is committed to providing safe, exciting, and thorough flight training to prepare students for a challenging and fun career as a helicopter pilot.