K-State Salina brings professional pilot degree to Kansas City

K-State Communications and Marketing
K-State Salina has partnered with Johnson County Community College and Air Associates of Kansas to offer a professional pilot degree in the Kansas City metropolitan area. (Video: K-State Communications and Marketing)

With industry demand for pilots soaring, Kansas State University Salina is expanding its aviation program to Kansas City. K-State Salina has partnered with Johnson County Community College and Air Associates of Kansas to offer a professional pilot degree in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Students enrolling in the program will receive flight training from Air Associates while taking their core degree courses online from K-State Salina and general education credits from Johnson County Community College. Once they graduate, students will receive a Bachelor of Science in aeronautical technology-professional pilot from Kansas State University.

"Kansas State University takes great pride in its land-grant mission. Through this partnership, we can serve the needs of a community while meeting the needs of an industry," said Kurt Barnhart, K-State Salina's associate dean of research and engagement. "We are so excited to have an opportunity to connect with aviation enthusiasts in the Kansas City area."

The idea of a partnership between K-State Salina, Johnson County Community College and Air Associates came up about a year ago shortly after new federal regulations for airline first officers went into effect. Under the regulations, first officers, or co-pilots, are required to have at least 1,500 hours of flying experience, which was increased dramatically from a previous 250 hours of flight time. However, with a four-year degree, the flight hour requirement is reduced to 1,000 hours. Air Associates saw this as an opportunity to expand its flight training offerings and approached K-State Salina and its well-known collegiate flight program about making an aviation career more obtainable for students in the Kansas City area.

"As a Cessna Pilot Center and our status as a Part 141 flight school, we are uniquely positioned to provide the curriculum, instructors and training fleet that will allow those interested in our community the opportunity to pursue a career as a professional pilot," said Tom Cargin, president of Air Associates of Kansas.

Johnson County Community College, or JCCC, came on board because of the general need within the Kansas City area for transportation and logistics training. Adding an aviation option expands the school's program in this area.

"With JCCC's experience in railroad training and its commercial driver's license program, this partnership enhances the varied transportation offerings for students starting a career in the industry," said Terry Murphy-Latta, director of the National Academy of Railroad Sciences at Johnson Country Community College.

For more information on the professional pilot degree information event in Olathe, contact a customer service representative at Air Associates of Kansas at 913-764-4800 or service@airassociatesinc.com.

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