WATKINS, Colo. (CBS4)– A new partnership between two Colorado colleges could be a quick solution to the nation’s looming shortage of airline pilots.
“It has been so much fun to fly these airplanes I still fly these airplanes to these days because I really do love flying them,” said Branden Hockaday outside of a Cessna 172, part of the fleet at Colorado Northwestern Community College. “This is the start of my career that’s what that means to me. It may be small, it doesn’t look like much, but it is the start to every pilots’ career; is these little four seater airplanes.”
Hockaday had no flight training at all when he showed up at CNCC in Rangely. He flew all over the Western Slope.
He’s now a few semesters away from a bachelor’s degree at Metro State University of Denver.
The two schools have combined to help students get through the necessary flight hours and training to get jobs.
“Now we have a structured way to get from zero all the way up into a major airline. There’s not a lot of flight schools around that can offer something like that,” said Hockaday.
“It’s really expensive to get flight hours on your own,” said Dr. Janine Davidson, the MSU Denver President and a former Air Force Pilot.
“We’re doing what we can so our students can get the best training they can get and get a pipeline quickly into those airline jobs.”