SALINA -- During the last decade, FlightSafey International and Kansas State University Salina have built a strong relationship.
“FlightSafety's Wichita Learning Center currently employs six K-State Salina alumni -- two full-time employees, one part-time employee and three interns,” said Rich High, manager of FlightSafety’s Cessna Learning Center in Wichita.
"This internship is a tremendous opportunity for our students," said Bill Gross, chief pilot with the K-State aviation program. "They learn two or three jets inside and out, backward and forward and get very good at it, which makes them ideal pilots for those aircraft. Because they become so good at those aircraft, companies are willing to hire them with lower flight time. The interns are well-positioned to get a job, as K-State alumni have a 100 percent hire rate after their FlightSafety internship ends."
"Interns often serve as crew for our customers," High said. "We see about 6,000 people a year from all over the world, so not only are they learning aircraft and avionics systems, but they are also getting to know other companies as they fly with their pilots. Some of those companies ask our interns to come fly for them part time," High said. According to High, K-State's aviation program creates pilots that are a good fit for FlightSafety.
"Your co-pilot plays a large role in your success with a check ride," he said. "K-State pilots create a good cockpit environment. They bring youth, they're willing to work any hours, they have a good attitude and know their stuff; nobody that we've hired has been a lightweight. They are extremely knowledgeable about aviation as a whole, and know the rules and regulations, which is important because customers come to us to be experts."
Interns can expect to spend 15-20 hours a week in the right seat. They will also spend time in the left seat, as training requires FlightSafety customers to also experience the aircraft as a co-pilot. When their year is up High gets involved with helping interns find employment, even going as far helping negotiate a starting salary.
"We want our interns to know they will be taken care of," High said. "The high-quality training and experience they receive at our Learning Centers not only helps them to secure employment, it reflects the strength of FlightSafety's training programs and encourages the company that hires them to train with us if they are not already."
"If an intern has logged 1,000 hours or more, FlightSafety helps them get a type rating, which saves them $15,000 to $20,000-plus," Gross said. "And they're getting paid on top of it.
K-State Salina has added four new bachelor's degree options: unmanned aircraft systems, avionics, airport management and air traffic control.
Hinchee is a Master CFI with nearly 8,000 flight hours and more than 30 years of aviation experience.
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