K-State at Salina employs four of Kansas' 11 Master certified Flight Instructors
There are only 11 Master Certified Flight Instructors in the state of Kansas. Kansas State University currently has four -- only one other American public institution granting aviation degrees has more.
Troy Brockway, assistant professor of aviation at K-State at Salina, was designated as a master instructor by the National Association of Flight Instructors in 2004. Bill Gross, professor of aviation at K-State at Salina was designated in 2003. Barney King and Eric Shappee, assistant professors of aviation at K-State at Salina, were designated master instructors in 2001.
"With four master CFIs, K-State is second in the nation among public degree-awarding aviation programs and fourth in the nation overall," said Marlon Johnston, aviation department head. "This illustrates how the quality of our program has made us a leading professional-pilot degree program."
The master instructor designation is a national accreditation earned through continued education within the aviation field. There are approximately 81,000 certificated flight instructors in the United States, and fewer than 400 have earned the master certificated flight instructor designation, awarded by the National Association of Flight Instructors and recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration.
To Gross, the real pleasure of being a master certificated flight instructor is the opportunity to pass his knowledge and experience along to students, especially those who are currently working as flight instructors within the college.
"Having four master certificated flight instructors means that as faculty members we have documented our level of experience, which is a sound example for our student instructors to work toward and strive for in their own careers," Gross said.
The National Association of Flight Instructors was founded in 1967 and is dedicated to raising and maintaining the professional standing of flight instructors throughout the nation, as well as providing a safe and effective learning environment for student pilots.
King received a bachelor's degree from the United States Military Academy, a master's degree in education from Georgia State University and a master's degree in computer resource and information management from Webster University, Kansas City, Mo. He also served in the U.S. Army for 23 years. Among his many awards include a Silver Star, a Bronze Star with Valor and two Purple Hearts. He currently is a volunteer with the Civil Air Patrol as a vice commander of the Kansas Wing and also is a checkpilot.
Shappee is a volunteer with the Civil Air Patrol as the Kansas State Wing safety officer and holds several badges from the Soaring Society of America. He assists the National Guard's STARBASE program by conducting presentations on aerodynamics. In the community, he is involved with the Awana youth group at First Baptist Church. He is the sponsor of the Women in Aviation group on campus, safety manager on the Safety Committee for the aviation department, a member of the Multicultural Connection Committee, a member of the Open House Coordinating Committee and regularly conducts progress checks of student pilots.
Shappee received an associate's degree in general studies from Antelope Valley College, Lancaster, Calif., and received a bachelor's degree in aeronautical science and a master's degree in aeronautics and safety from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott, Ariz.
Gross, who is chief pilot and professor at K-State at Salina, has instructed pilots for 33 years. He joined the Kansas College of Technology in 1987, which later merged with K-State and became the university's ninth college, the College of Technology and Aviation. He also is a Federal Aviation Administration-designated flight examiner.
Gross earned a bachelor's degree in animal sciences and a master's in agricultural education from K-State. He and his wife, Elaine, have two adult children, Mikala January and Guy Gross.
Brockway earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from K-State, as well as a master's degree in aviation safety from Central Missouri State University. He and his wife, Kathy, have two children, Jessica, 10, and Lara, 7. He was named National Intercollegiate Flying Association coach of the year in 2003. He is assistant chief pilot and assistant certified flight instructor in the aviation department.