Jones Family Foundation Gift to Expand Middle Georgia State University Flight Training in Macon

Author: News Bureau
Posted: Tuesday, June 4, 2019 7:00 PM
Category: Pressroom

Macon, GA

MGA Plane at Macon Downtown Airport

Middle Georgia State University’s flight education program at the Macon Downtown Airport is getting two additional airplanes thanks to the generosity of the Charles H. Jones Family Foundation.

The foundation’s $800,000 gift will allow Middle Georgia State University (MGA) to purchase two single-engine Piper Archers, as well as two replacement engines, and put them into service as of spring 2020.  The new aircraft will allow twice as many student pilots to pursue their flight education bachelor’s degree program at Macon Downtown Airport – increasing the number of MGA Aviation students at the facility from 60 to 120.  With agreements in place with several regional and national air carriers, the University’s flight students graduate with pathways into high-demand, high-paying jobs in Georgia’s fastest-growing industry. 

MGA President Dr. Christopher Blake announced the gift at the Tuesday, June 4 meeting of the Macon-Bibb Commission. With him was Adon Clark, dean of MGA’s School of Aviation, Ken Fincher, vice president for Advancement at MGA, and Dwight Jones, chairman and president of the Jones Family Foundation. Jones also serves as vice chair for the Macon Bibb County Industrial Authority and vice chair of the Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins.

“These new planes will not only provide Macon-Bibb residents with additional opportunities to start working towards fulfilling and lucrative careers in aviation, but they also will bring in revenue, both directly to the airport, and indirectly to the community,” Clark said.  “In addition to the fuel flowage fees, and other revenue streams the aircraft will generate, the future aviators who will be flying them and the faculty members and flight instructors supporting them will be living, working, and shopping right here in Macon.”

Jones said the gift reflects the desire of his late father, Charles H. Jones, to give back to the communities he served as a civic leader and successful businessman, and to help grow aviation as an economic driver in the region.

“My father and our Foundation founder, Charles Jones, was a navigator for the US Navy Air Transport Command during WWII; he was an early adopter of general aviation for business,” said Jones, himself a longtime general-aviation pilot.  “Most of us take for granted the long and rich history of aviation in Middle Georgia, be it the founding of Delta Airlines in Macon, or the existence of the largest industrial complex in our state, Warner Robins Air Logistics Center. Our aviation workforce is second to none, and it is high time that we emphasize MGA’s superior ability to produce highly qualified pilots to help fill a growing need for pilots in the industry.”

MGA is the only public university in Georgia with a School of Aviation, based in Eastman, which offers degrees in aviation science and management - with concentrations in flight and air traffic management - and aviation maintenance and structural technology.  The School of Aviation also offers flight education at satellite locations, including the Macon Downtown Airport and Cook County Airport in Adel. Aviation students in Macon are pursuing the University’s flight education bachelor’s degree program and several levels of FAA pilot certification.

MGA will host a ceremony at the Macon Downtown Airport when the new planes arrive in spring 2020.

The Charles H. Jones Family Foundation exists to provide grants to qualified 501(c)3 organizations in Middle Georgia that provide high impact results focused on improving the overall community in education, religious, and civic endeavors. For more information, see

To learn more about MGA’s School of Aviation and the programs it offers, see