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This program saves aspiring pilots a five-hour drive

A partnership between Metro State University and Colorado Northwestern Community College gives more opportunities to aviation students and lets them save a little gas at the same time.

KUSA — Metro State University and Colorado Northwestern Community College have created a new partnership that will allow students to enroll in classes in either institution to receive flight training at a reduced cost while pursing associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in aviation.

“It is an amazing opportunity,” MSU Denver senior Branden Hockaday said.

Hockaday wants to become a pilot for a major airline, and is finishing up his degree in aviation and aerospace science down here in Denver. His journey started at Colorado Northwestern Community College in Rangely, which is on the northwest corner of Colorado almost on the Utah border.

That’s a ways away, and Hockaday was happy to hear about the program moving to this side of the divide. CNCC is moving a satellite school to the Front Range Airport to give MSU Denver students better access to aircraft and flight instructors—and save gas at the same time (it’s a five-hour drive to Rangely on a good day).

The FAA recently increased the requirements to 1,500 hours of flight experience to get a Transport Airline license. This program will reduce those requirements by 250 hours by having student make up that time as flight instructors, a move that will get more pilots in the cockpits.

“The closer you can get between instructors, professors and yourself…the better it’s going to be,” Hockaday said. “The pilot you know you’re going to be is going to start coming out of you.”

Metro State says the partnership with Colorado Northwestern Community College will significantly reduce student flight time costs. The lease on the site was signed Monday and the school is now ready to match flight instructors with current aviation students.