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Source: Bill Gross, 785-826-2970,
News release prepared by: Natalie Blair, 785-826-2642,

Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009


SALINA -- William "Bill" Gross, chief pilot and professor of aviation at Kansas State University at Salina, has renewed his Master Certificated Flight Instructor accreditation for a fourth time.

Gross, who has held the professional accreditation continuously since 2003, is one of only 54 flight instructors worldwide to earn the credential four times. He also is one of only 19 master certified flight instructors in Kansas.

The national accreditation is recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration. Fewer than 700 of the approximately 93,000 certified flight instructors in the nation have achieved the master distinction. The designation must be renewed biennially and surpasses the FAA's requirements for renewal of the candidate's flight instructor certificate.

K-State at Salina has six faculty members who have earned this top designation. Along with Gross, they are Kurt Barnhart, professor and head of the department of aviation; Bernard King, associate professor of aviation; Troy Brockway, associate professor of aviation; Eric Shappee, associate professor of aviation; and Andrew Smith, assistant professor of aviation and the aviation maintenance training program lead.

An aviation instructor for nearly 35 years, Gross, who has been with K-State at Salina since 1987, has helped the program grow from three to more than 300 students. Today, Gross oversees all flight training at K-State at Salina as well as its ground school.

Gross has bachelor's degrees in animal sciences and industry and in agriculture education, and a master's degree in agriculture education, all from K-State. His professional affiliations include membership in the Kansas Pilots Association, the National Flight Instructors Association and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.