Aviation is taking off in Polk County
A central location that four airports call home and close proximity to Tampa International Airport (TPA) and Orlando International Airport (MCO). Polk and the Lakeland / Winter Haven MSA has a burgeoning workforce fueled by area aviation programs and great weather which are just a few of the ingredients that make Polk County a hub for aviation activity in Florida. Combined, the four airports alone contribute about approximately $500 million to the local economy.
Add to that a growing number of aviation companies that call Polk County home at Lakeland Linder International Airport (LAL), such as internationally recognized Draken International and Keys to the World Aviation, which recently broke ground on a 59,000-square-foot facility to provide corporate air service, and the county plays on the worldwide scene. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Hurricane Hunters remain active year round, but focuses attention on Lakeland’s airport during the storm season.
Students from the Central Florida Aerospace Academy, Polk State College, and Southeastern University become certified while attending school, graduating with the experience they need to fill high-paying aircraft maintenance and aviator positions. Some become pilots through Jet Blue’s partnership with Polk State, helping to fill the void left by retiring pilots.
Aviation also provides fun, whether a day sky-diving at the Lake Wales airport, visiting Sun ‘n’ Fun during its annual Fly-In or taking a stroll down memory lane in the Florida Air Museum. Polk County is a great location for Aviation and Aerospace.
- Bartow Municipal Airport
- Draken International
- Gulf Coast Avionics
- Lake Wales Municipal Airport
- Lakeland Linder International Airport
- NOAA Hurricane Hunters
- Seaplane Pilots Association
- Sun ‘n Fun
- Winter Haven Municipal Airport
Leading Education Programs
Central Florida Aerospace Academy (CFAA): Located at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, CFAA is a unique high school that offers specific aeronautical instruction including flight training, aircraft maintenance and avionics. CFAA also supports a FAA Part 147 Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic course to help students earn FAA certification as Aviation Maintenance Technicians.
Southeastern University is launching a new program to provide affordable and accessible degrees that prepare professional pilots. A student who begins this program with zero flight hours will earn their Commercial Pilot Certificate with Instrument and Multi-Engine Rating, Flight Instructor Certificate, and AAS degree in Professional Pilot
Polk State College: Polk State offers an A.S. in Professional Pilot Science, A.S. in Aerospace Administration and a B.S. in Aerospace Sciences. Students can earn additional certifications as Certified Flight Instructors, Certified Instrument Flight Instructors and/or Certified Multi-Engine Flight Instructors.
Traviss Technical College: Offering both high school and adult vocational training, Traviss has programs in Avionics and Airframe Mechanics. Students can earn a FAA certification as Aviation Maintenance Technicians.