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K-State News
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New partnership between Kansas State University and Mesa Airlines assists pilot students on Polytechnic Campus with paying for CFI certificate

Wednesday, May 2, 2018


SALINA — Professional pilot students on the Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus have a new option to consider in their career search and it includes significant financial assistance toward one of their flight certificates.

Kansas State University is partnering with Mesa Airlines, a regional carrier based in Arizona, to create the Mesa Airlines and Kansas State University Pilot Pipeline Program. This collaboration establishes a defined path of employment with the airline for professional pilot students on the university's Polytechnic Campus, giving them the opportunity to interview for a job after earning their private pilot certificate. In addition, the agreement provides $10,000 in compensation to help students complete their certified flight instructor, or CFI, certificate.

"Mesa Airlines understands the pilot shortage challenges facing the industry today and is committed to being a part of the solution," said Ben Jaffee, senior assistant chief flight instructor at Kansas State Polytechnic. "This pilot pipeline program makes predicting the future easier and more encouraging for our flight students — they can secure an airline job before graduation and receive additional financial help with part of their educational process. Kansas State Polytechnic appreciates that Mesa Airlines is invested in the success of our students and the aviation industry."

Future pilots at Kansas State Polytechnic interested in employment with Mesa Airlines are eligible to interview with the regional carrier after earning their very first credential, a private pilot certificate. Once they have obtained their commercial pilot and multiengine certificates, students go through an onboarding process where they receive $10,000 as an incentive or reimbursement for their certified flight instructor certificate. The transition to Mesa Airlines as a first officer begins when students earn their degree and reach the airline transport pilot minimums of 1,000 hours of flight time. The position requires a one-year commitment and also comes with extra bonus opportunities.

"We are excited to partner with Kansas State University to offer flight students a career path with Mesa Airlines," said Jonathan Ornstein, chairman and CEO of the regional carrier. "We look forward to working with K-State in helping these future professional aviators reach their dreams."

Kansas State Polytechnic also has secured pipeline program partnerships with Republic Airline and Piedmont Airlines. To learn more about the professional pilot bachelor's degree option at Kansas State Polytechnic, contact admissions at 785-826-2640 or polytechnic@k-state.edu or visit k-statepilot.com.


Ben Jaffee


Professional pilot program

News tip


Written by

Julee Cobb