Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver) and Colorado Northwestern Community College (CNCC) have created a new agreement that will allow students to enroll in classes at either institution and to gain flight training at a reduced cost while pursuing associate’s and bachelor’s of science degrees in aviation.
“Commercial airlines, especially regional carriers, are facing growing challenges with identifying qualified candidates to fill needed pilot positions,” said Jeffrey Forrest, professor and chair of the MSU Denver Aviation and Aerospace Science Department. “This agreement enables us to offer students additional options for flight training and academics, while addressing the latest update to FAA pilot-qualification standards.”
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently increased the hiring requirements for first officers who fly for U.S. passenger and cargo airlines from a Commercial certificate (250 hours of flight experience) to an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate (1500 hours of flight experience). The new MSU Denver/CNCC agreement will reduce that requirement to 1,250 hours for students who follow all required FAA regulations to obtain a restricted ATP certificate. A restricted privileges ATP certificate allows a pilot to serve as a co-pilot until he or she obtains the required 1,500 hours.
“This partnership creates a unique arrangement that benefits students at both institutions,” said David Smith, vice president of instruction and student affairs at CNCC. “By combining MSU Denver’s stellar aeronautics program with CNCC’s pilot training, the partnership creates a world-class opportunity for students that will be unsurpassed in the classroom and in the cockpit.”
The CNCC partnership provides students an opportunity for flight training at Rangely Airport that costs 10 to 15 percent less than training at a typical flight school—where a student’s total investment can exceed $75,000, on top of standard university tuition. During the summer, discounted-rate housing will be available near the airport, further reducing training costs and allowing students to complete their training more quickly. MSU Denver and CNCC will provide students with academic advisors to help them effectively access resources at both campuses, choose electives and customize their coursework focus. Current students can take advantage of the program immediately, and enrollment for new students will begin in fall 2014.
Beyond the immediate benefits to students, both institutions believe this agreement will create opportunities to establish deeper connections within Colorado’s growing aviation community, benefiting related businesses and fostering future economic development.
“This is a great example of a collaborative effort between two of Colorado’s premier aviation learning institutions to provide an enhanced pilot training program for their students,” David Gordon, director of the Colorado Division of Aeronautics. “This program will provide skilled pilots for our aviation transportation system who meet the new FAA standards for safety.”