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MSU Denver, McAir Aviation program aims to reduce commercial pilot training time

McAir Aviation at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport
Posted at 4:53 PM, Aug 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-24 20:34:45-04

BROOMFIELD, Colo. -- A new partnership between Metropolitan State University of Denver's Aviation and Aerospace Science Department and McAir Aviation has landed at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport.

The Pilot Training Partnership program's goal is to train students in about two-thirds of the time so they can become commercial pilots and work for airlines sooner.

"Pilots will be able to go through Metropolitan State University, do their flight training here at McAir, and they'll be able to get to the airlines, not having 1,500 of experience [but] just 1,000 hours of experience," McAir Aviation Chief Pilot Levi Brown said Tuesday.

This quicker pipeline will put more pilots in the air faster and could help solve our pilot shortage in the process.

"We're feeling that pilot shortage again because people weren't flight training as much [during the pandemic]. They had a lot of early retirements. And now we have the squeeze again for the airlines really needing pilots," Brown said.

Luke Kuberski, an MSU Denver spring 2021 graduate and McAir Aviation certified flight instructor, admits the program would've helped him get done faster.

He's now a cadet with SkyWest Airlines and has about 500 hours in his process to get an airline transport pilot certificate. He's short about 1,000 hours.

"I wish I was a student [at MSU] at the time because it really does help out," he said. "A thousand [hours] versus 1,500, usually, so it's 500 less hours that you have to fly, which is super nice."

So far, at least 40 MSU students have signed up for the program, and the flight school expects that number to grow.

"We're training pilots as quick as we can," Brown said. "Great partnerships like this really ... help those students get the airlines quicker."