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Press Release

New aviation partnership lowers tuition cost, flight hours requirements for aspiring pilots

Contact: Tim Carroll, MSU Denver, Office 303-556-5136, Cell 303-870-7705
Jeff Stoddard, CNCC, Office 970-675-3289

Posted: August 18, 2014

(Denver) — Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver) and Colorado Northwestern Community College (CNCC) have created a new agreement that will allow students to enroll in classes at either institution and to gain flight training at a reduced cost while pursuing associate’s and bachelor’s of science degrees in aviation.

“Commercial airlines, especially regional carriers, are facing growing challenges with identifying qualified candidates to fill needed pilot positions,” said Jeffrey Forrest, professor and chair of the MSU Denver Aviation and Aerospace Science Department. “This agreement enables us to offer students additional options for flight training and academics, while addressing the latest update to FAA pilot-qualification standards.”

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently increased the hiring requirements for first officers who fly for U.S. passenger and cargo airlines from a Commercial certificate (250 hours of flight experience) to an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate (1500 hours of flight experience). The new MSU Denver/CNCC agreement will reduce that requirement to 1,250 hours for students who follow all required FAA regulations to obtain a restricted ATP certificate. A restricted privileges ATP certificate allows a pilot to serve as a co-pilot until he or she obtains the required 1,500 hours.

“This partnership creates a unique arrangement that benefits students at both institutions,” said David Smith, vice president of instruction and student affairs at CNCC. “By combining MSU Denver’s stellar aeronautics program with CNCC’s pilot training, the partnership creates a world-class opportunity for students that will be unsurpassed in the classroom and in the cockpit.”

The CNCC partnership provides students an opportunity for flight training at Rangely Airport that costs 10 to 15 percent less than training at a typical flight school—where a student’s total investment can exceed $75,000, on top of standard university tuition. During the summer, discounted-rate housing will be available near the airport, further reducing training costs and allowing students to complete their training more quickly.

MSU Denver and CNCC will provide students with academic advisors to help them effectively access resources at both campuses, choose electives and customize their coursework focus. Current students can take advantage of the program immediately, and enrollment for new students will begin in fall 2014.

Beyond the immediate benefits to students, both institutions believe this agreement will create opportunities to establish deeper connections within Colorado’s growing aviation community, benefiting related businesses and fostering future economic development.

“This is a great example of a collaborative effort between two of Colorado's premier aviation learning institutions to provide an enhanced pilot training program for their students,” David Gordon, director of the Colorado Division of Aeronautics. “This program will provide skilled pilots for our aviation transportation system who meet the new FAA standards for safety.”




About Colorado Northwestern Community College – Aviation Technology Flight

The CNCC Aviation Technology Flight program has been teaching people how to fly for more than forty years. Students discover a national-caliber program with well-seasoned instructors, a fleet of well-maintained aircraft, miles of unrestricted air space, and a nationally ranked intercollegiate flight team. The Flight program is based out of Rangely Airport, a Rio Blanco County facility that is managed by CNCC and is located just two miles from the main CNCC campus. The program offers all levels of flight training and certification from private pilot all the way to flight instructor certification. For more information, visit

About Metropolitan State University of Denver – Aviation and Aerospace Science Department

MSU Denver has one of the largest undergraduate collegiate aviation programs in the country. In 2011, MSU Denver’s Precision Flight Team was awarded the Loening Trophy, the oldest and most prestigious collegiate aviation award given to the most outstanding all-around collegiate aviation program in the country. The department owns and operates the Robert K. Mock World Indoor Airport, one of the nation’s few dedicated collegiate aviation and aerospace computer and flight simulator training laboratories. Prior to their appointment as professional educators, all department faculty accumulate a wealth of diverse aviation or aerospace career experience. For more information, visit


About Metropolitan State University of Denver

MSU Denver is a leader in educating Coloradans in university programs particularly relevant to the state economy and the demands of today’s employers. With the highest number of ethnically diverse students among the state’s four-year colleges, MSU Denver offers 55 majors plus master’s degrees in accounting, teaching and social work. More than 22,000 students are currently enrolled, and 75 percent of the university’s 77,000 graduates have remained in Colorado as valuable members of the state’s workforce. 

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