Port & Harbor Commission Announces FAA Part 141 Flight School at Stennis International Airport

June 16, 2020

Hancock County, MS (June 16, 2020) – The Hancock County Port and Harbor Board of Commissioners recently approved a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 141 flight school to locate at The Stennis International Airport. 

Gulf Coast Aviation (GCA) and Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission agreed to jointly pursue the flight school to help alleviate a global pilot shortage by training Hancock County and Mississippi-based students to advance in aviation and aerospace related careers, to include preparation for military flight training.

“The establishment of a flight school at The Stennis International Airport indicates our efforts to help create a pipeline of local aviators” said Chanse Watson, Stennis International Airport Director.  “We have planted this seed and will grow a culture of aviation to meet the enormous demand in the industry”.

The addition of the flight school allows students to take full-time training, more conducive to those who may want to pursue aviation as a career.

The flight school is the most recent announcement to come from The Port & Harbor Commission’s investment in an Aviation and Aerospace Cluster Optimization Plan performed in 2016.  Since that time, multiple efforts around aviation and aerospace have been advanced, including Pearl River Community College’s recent groundbreaking of the Phil Bryant Aviation and Aerospace Workforce Academy which will be built in the Stennis International Airpark near the Stennis International Airport. 

“Friends and neighbors will need training. Lots of training,” Bill Cork, CEO of Hancock county Port and Harbor Commission said. “Manned and unmanned commercial flight training, military flight training for domestic and allied nations, airframe and power plant maintenance training, avionics electronics and a host of skills we can’t even comprehend yet and they are going to do it right here in Hancock County at this new Aerospace Academy”.

Hancock County Port & Harbor Commission is working to fully utilize all of Hancock County’s assets and to support changing market conditions around unmanned systems, commercial space exploration, and the Stennis Space Center’s restricted airspace.  The Port & Harbor Commission is currently halfway through the licensing process to build an FAA approved commercial spaceport, which will enable private companies to perform horizontally launched commercial payloads into space.  Currently, there are only twelve FAA licensed spaceports throughout the United States, and only nine are licensed to perform horizontal launches.

Businesses, federal partners, and community leaders should come together, with one voice, to continue building upon our community’s many assets and to leverage our resources.  The efforts that are currently underway will allow the community to flourish in a vibrant and robust economy, and to benefit from the aerospace and aviation boom.

The Stennis International Airport’s addition of a Part 141 flight school will enhance the talent pipeline and enable Hancock County to play a leadership role to drive the effort around Mississippi’s aerospace and space exploration ecosystem. 



The Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission was established in 1963 to lead the county’s economic development activities. Stennis International Airport and Port Bienville Industrial Park are home to 30 companies with more than 1,000 employees. For more information visit www.portairspace.com

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