Aviation - Professional Pilot

Hesston College’s aviation-professional pilot program launched in 1970, and has continuously integrated exceptional academics and foundational flight instruction for professional aviators.

An Air Traffic Control option was added to the program in 2009, and in 2010 earned Collegiate Training Initiative (CTI) status from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Hesston’s Air Traffic Control program is one of 36 FAA-CTI programs nationwide and the only program in the state of Kansas. In January 2019, Hesston College Aviation was granted approval from the accrediting agency, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), for a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation-Professional Pilot. Hesston College Aviation graduates work in a myriad of aviation-based environments, from on-demand charter, regional, domestic and international airlines, corporate flight departments, missionary-based or humanitarian-relief organizations, flight instructors in academic institutions, aerial application operations, FAA roles and more.

Aviation Mission Statement

Hesston College Aviation advocates the joy of flight. We teach and model the skills, principles and attitudes of safe, responsible, thoughtful airmanship. We live and work within a community of faith, pursuing the college’s mission.


Hesston College Aviation operates from its own hangar at the Newton City/County Airport, about 15 minutes from the main Hesston College campus.

Program Certification and Accreditation

Hesston College Aviation, the sole provider of all ground and flight training, is the holder of a Federal Aviation Administration Air Agency Certificate, and is formally recognized as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) Part 141 Pilot School authorized to conduct all phases of training for the Private Pilot, Instrument Airplane and Commercial Pilot certification courses. Hesston College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is authorized to grant degrees by the state of Kansas. All aviation curriculum and degrees at Hesston College are also approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Degree Tracks

Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Aviation-Professional Pilot Four-year degree. Graduates of this degree program are eligible to apply for a Restricted Airline Transport Pilot (R-ATP) certificate at 1,000 flight hours, pursuant to the provisions of 14 CFR Part 61.160. Plan of study Associate of Applied Arts and Sciences (A.A.A.S.), Aviation-Professional Pilot Two-year degree. Graduates of this degree program are eligible to apply for a Restricted Airline Transport Pilot (R-ATP) certificate at 1,250 flight hours, pursuant to the provisions of 14 CFR Part 61.160. Plan of study Associate of Applied Arts and Sciences (A.A.A.S.), Air Traffic Control Two-year degree. Plan of study
Landing at Newton City/County Airport

Program Highlights

Aviation as Mission An annual event for students and alumni focused on better understanding God’s call and how it translates to professional aviation careers. Alumni share about their professional and spiritual journeys and how they live their faith through their work. Mountain Flying The Mountain Flying course (AVIA 325) affords students with invaluable cross-country navigation and high altitude operations while conducting aircraft flight operations in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. The sights and flights are breathtaking. Airline Training Orientation Program (ATOP) Training of particular interest and benefit for those interested in a career in the airlines. ATOP provides students with an introduction to the Boeing 737’s advanced aircraft systems, accomplishes the regulatory-based training for the issuance of high-altitude endorsement, and includes a flight in the Boeing 737 Full Flight Simulator (FFS). CAMI The FAA’s Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI) in Oklahoma City offers students the invaluable opportunity of participating in a one-day physiological and altitude chamber training activity. Desert, artic and water survival training is also available.

Program Requirements

  • High school unweighted GPA of 2.5 or above OR a GED certificate. For any completed higher education work, a minimum GPA of 1.75 is required for consideration.
  • For consideration, an applicant must have achieved one (1) of the following: a minimum composite score of 19 on the ACT, a minimum combined Critical Reading and Mathematics score of 990 on the SAT, or a minimum of 236 on the ACCUPLACER test.
  • English language proficiency – All Hesston College Aviation students, in accordance with Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 61, must be able to read, speak, write and understand the English language in order to meet the minimum eligibility criteria established by the FAA for airman certification. The FAA’s determination of English proficiency directly correlates to the International Civil Aviation Organization’s established criteria for Level 4 Operational Proficiency.
  • Airman Medical Certificate – Each Hesston College Aviation student must obtain a First Class (1st Class) FAA Airman Medical Certificate issued by a FAA-authorized Aviation Medical Examiner (AME). Further information about obtaining an Airman Medical Certificate will be communicated upon acceptance to the Hesston College Aviation program.

The Fleet

Application Process

In an effort to provide each aviation student with the most productive and efficient learning environment, the Hesston College Aviation program is capacity limited. Priority admission will be considered for all eligible applicants who have completed and submitted all required documentation prior to April 1. After April 1, all applications will be reviewed, and ranked for consideration.
  1. Complete and submit the Hesston College Application for Admission
  2. Provide two (2) personal references through www.hesston.edu/reference. If you are employed within the field of Aviation, one (1) of your references must be completed by your current employer. References from personal acquaintances or relatives will not be accepted.
  3. Submit official high school or GED transcripts.
  4. Submit official ACT, SAT, or ACCUPLACER test scores.
  5. Submit official transcripts from all colleges, universities or other schools attended.
  6. Obtain an unrestricted Class 1 FAA Airman Medical Certificate. Further information about obtaining this certificate will be communicated upon acceptance to the Hesston College Aviation program. Acceptance into the program will be contingent upon the satisfactory completion of the FAA Airman Medical Certificate.
  7. Applicants who have initiated flight training prior to their acceptance must provide the following for review: a copy of the Airman’s Pilot Certificate (Student, or Private); a copy of a current, valid and unrestricted Class 1 FAA Airman Medical Certificate; and a copy of the last page of the applicant’s pilot logbook. This information will aid in establishing one’s placement within the flight training program.
  8. Participate in an informal interview/discussion with the Director of Aviation or his assigned delegate prior to acceptance. This discussion may be accomplished during an applicant’s campus visit or may be scheduled via video conferencing.
  9. Upon the completion of review of all documents and interviews, Hesston College Aviation will provide a formal written notification of its disposition for acceptance.

Affiliated Departments

Meet the Faculty