In the news

Charlotte Warren, Ph.D., LLCC president, was interviewed Dec. 23 on Sports Radio 1450 about scholarships, the spring semester and workforce programs at the college.

David Pietrzak, program director, aviation, was interviewed by WICS on Dec. 18 about the recent donation of a Piper Cherokee aircraft to LLCC’s aviation program. Dr. Thomas Carey Jr. donated his late father’s plane to LLCC’s program where it is being used for hands-on training experiences in aviation mechanics.

Jolene Lamb, coordinator, LLCC Culinary Institute, wrote the Dec. 23 Epicuriosity 101 column in the State Journal-Register, “Cold Days, Hot Cocoa.”

Sean Keeley, culinary specialist, is the author of the Dec. 30 Epicuriosity 101 column in the State Journal-Register, “Gluten-free 2021.”

Piper Cherokee aircraft donated to LLCC Aviation

Piper Cherokee aircraftDr. Thomas Carey Jr. of Springfield recently donated his late father’s Piper Cherokee aircraft to Lincoln Land Community College’s aviation program. The plane is being used for hands-on training experiences in aviation mechanics.

An LLCC alum, Dr. Carey has been a pilot for 40 years. His father, Thomas W. Carey Sr., was a pilot for more than 60 years and was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, serving in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

“This model was very special,” explains Carey. “My father flew on missions in a similar aircraft during the Vietnam War and once returned back to base with numerous bullet holes in his plane.”

Carey Sr. purchased the aircraft in 1968. It was only the seventh one built of that particular model.

“It is an honor to continue use of this aircraft as a learning tool in our program to enhance our students’ hands-on training,” says David Pietrzak, program director, LLCC Aviation. “We’re grateful to the Carey family for their generous donation.”

LLCC offers an aviation mechanics program at Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport in which students can earn airframe and powerplant certificates in 18 months, with degrees in aviation mechanics and aviation management also available. Last year, the median annual wage for aircraft mechanics and service technicians was more than $64,000. Registration is currently open, and classes begin Jan. 6. More information is available at

Aviation remote learning

Aviation remote learning classroomLLCC Aviation transitioned to remote learning when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released a Special Guidance for FAR part 147 AMTS Regarding Training Interruptions Related to Coronavirus (COVID-19) memo on Monday, March 23 that opened up the option for distance learning. To figure out how to best serve students through remote learning, program staff explored various technologies LLCC has available to students and staff. After exploring and testing various technologies, the solution included:

  • Microsoft Teams as a virtual classroom so instructors can still interact with students as if they were in regular classroom.
  • Microsoft OneNote as a way to deliver any written or supplemental materials and email.

Figuring out how to deliver the material was just the first step. Then a proposal had to be developed for the FAA to sign off on. The proposal needed to have the delivery methods that would be utilized, how student interaction time would be documented and what courses were going to be affected. The proposal was submitted Monday morning, and approval was received late Monday. In a matter of a day’s time, before the first official day started, LLCC Aviation was able to get students up and running with Teams and OneNote.

Program staff are grateful for the opportunity to continue students’ education remotely. They thank Information Technology, Academic Innovation and eLearning and LLCC for the technology they have made available to our students and staff college-wide.

In the news

David Pietrzak, program director, aviation, was interviewed by the State Journal-Register about the aviation program’s new teaching tool: a Learjet 24B. Aviation students were reassembling the corporate jet, which was donated by Bob Brandis of Brandis Aviation in Taylorville.

Sheridan Lane, interim director, culinary program and operations, is the author of today’s Epicuriosity 101 column in the State Journal-Register, “Traditions or Traditional Now.”

In the community

Patrick Moore, director, concurrent enrollment and Kyla Kruse, assistant director, public relations, will be participating in Leadership Springfield, sponsored by the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce. Leadership Springfield is a 14-week series of half-day programs, beginning Sept. 5, during which participants gain leadership skills and in-depth exposure to critical issues affecting the Springfield area. Outside of the regular program sessions, participants will also be challenged to exercise creativity and problem-solving skills by working as teams on projects for the benefit of area not-for-profit organizations.

Dave Pietrzak, program director, aviation, served as one of the four evaluators of the simulated aircraft disaster drill Aug. 26 at Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport, involving more than 30 local, state, federal and private agencies. Dave was asked to lend his expertise to critique the exercise and participated in a post-drill debriefing as well. LLCC aviation students assisted behind the scenes. Dave took these photos.

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Aviation program’s new sign

Dave Pietrzak, Arnold Tullis, Todd Cole, Rick Stillman and Christina Courier in front of new sign at aviation centerLLCC aviation program staff are happy with their new sign, designed by Greg Walbert, graphic design manager, at the Levi, Ray and Shoup, Inc. Aviation Center, located at Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport. The previous sign was destroyed in a spring windstorm. Classes in the program started last week, and the next cohort will begin in January. Shown here are: Dave Pietrzak, program director; Arnold Tullis, aviation mechanics training specialist; Todd Cole, contracted instructor; Rick Stillman, contracted instructor; and Christina Courier, program assistant.