Retired Air Force Col. Andy Hird starts new career teaching aviation course at Norwich

Retired Colonel Andy Hird is now teaching a course on aviation. Picture by Amber Reichart.

With over 5,000 flying hours on his shoulders, former Air Force colonel Andy Hird has decided to put his experience at Norwich students’ disposal, introducing an innovative “experimental course,” according to the new professor.
“I learned over the course of three years, that there’s a lot of students here that have their dreams and goals including aviation,” said Co. Hird, special assistant to the provost and flight instructor. “Yet we don’t have any aviation program,” he added.
After retiring from his position as the Air Force colonel, Hird received permission from the provost to teach an experimental course called “Aviation Ground School.”
Hird’s resume speaks for itself. He has served on the Air Staff, the Central Command Combined Air Operations Center staff, and the United States Transportation Command Staff. According to the Norwich University Website, ( on top to his current command, Hird commanded the 62nd Operations Group, 517th Firebird Airlift Squadron, and the 385th Air Expeditionary Group. During his career as command pilot, he has flown combat missions in operations Deliberate Force, Allied Force, and Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

Hird was the first person to notice that Norwich lacked an aviation program despite interest in one, so he decided to share his expertise through an experimental course focused on aviation training.
After the successful responses to the introduction of the course for fall semester of 2018, aviation ground school will be offered again for the upcoming spring semester. The former Air Force colonel expresses the importance of this class as it “prepares students to pass the Federal Aviation Administration’s written test.”
Alongside the ground school, Professor Hird also offers his students flight lessons at the nearby Edward F. Knapp State Airport, in Barre. Hird conducts the flight lessons for Norwich students as a flight instructor hired by the Vermont Flight Academy, Vermont’s premier flight school.
“The school has allowed me time on Tuesdays to teach students to fly,” said Hird. “The Vermont Flight Academy moved an airplane to the local airport here, so I can easily teach Norwich students how to fly.”
Professor Hird teaches two sections of aviation ground school in the Communications building, with a total of eleven students in each section. Sam Hubbard is one the students aiming for a career in the Air Force, and taking advantage of Hird’s course.
“After getting to know Colonel Hird, he offered kids in the class flight lessons and I took him up on that offer,” said Hubbard, a freshman general engineering major from Grover, Mass.
“I have already gone on two now,” he said.
Hubbard dreamed of becoming a pilot in the air force and was ecstatic for an opportunity to take steps towards that. Hubbard’s flight lessons were taught in a Cessna-150, a “small fixed-wing aircraft.”
For Hubbard, this class is the best chance to get one step closer to his goal.

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