Frequently asked questions

What does Henderson's Department of Aviation offer to students?

Henderson State University’s Department of Aviation prepares students for the professional aviation workplace. The Professional Pilot Track takes students with zero flight experience and provides them with the education and flight training required to become a professional pilot, such as an airline or corporate pilot. The Aviation Management Track is for students wishing to work at the management level in the aviation industry without being a commercial pilot.

What are the admission requirements for Henderson's aviation program?

The admission requirements for Henderson State University's aviation program are the same as the University's requirements.

What is the cost for tuition and fees at Henderson's aviation program?

The current cost of tuition and fees at Henderson State University can be found by clicking here. Flight fees are in addition to all other HSU tuition and fees. 

Is there any scholarship information available?

There are both Henderson and non-Henderson scholarships available. 

As a U.S. citizen, what must I do before I fly for the first time?

To be eligible to fly in HSU’s FAA Part 141 flight training program all incoming students (assuming zero flight time) must accomplish the following:

All flight students must obtain a FAA medical certificate with a student pilot certificate attached. Medical certificates and student pilot certificates are obtained only from specific Aviation Medical Examiners (AMEs) that are approved by the FAA. Three classes of medical certificates are available, but since our students are typically pursuing a professional career we recommend incoming students obtain a first class medical examination

All HSU flight students must open and maintain a flight account with the business office located on the third floor of the Womack building. Although Henderson does not require the entire cost of the lab to be paid for in advance, flight students are required to maintain a minimum balance of $500 in order to fly.

As prescribed by the Transportation Security Administration, all flight students are required to present to the airport secretary, Brandy Erwine, one of the following to verify U.S. citizenship:

    • Valid unexpired U.S. passport

    • Original birth certificate of the United States, American Samoa, or Swains Island, and government-issued picture ID

    • Original certification of birth abroad with raised seal (Form FS-545 or DS-1350) and government-issued picture ID

    • Original certificate of U.S. citizenship with raised seal (Form N-560 or N-561), or a Certificate of Repatriation (Form N-581), and government-issued picture ID

    • Original United States naturalization certificate with raised seal (Form N-550 or N-570) and a government-issued picture ID

U.S. Citizens may commence flight training once the medical certificate and student pilot certificate have been obtained and proof of U.S. citizenship is on file with the airport secretary. Non-U.S. Citizens may contact any aviation faculty member for guidance on how to receive flight training at Henderson.

As a non-U.S. citizen, what must I do before I fly for the first time?

Please see the Non-U.S. Citizen FAQ page for more information on this topic. 

How soon will I be flying once enrolled?

Flying begins with the Intro to Aeronautics lab which most students take their first semester on campus.  Three criteria must be met before you can start flying: (1) be TSA verified either as a U.S. citizen or approved non-U.S. citizen, (2) possess an aviation medical certificate with an attached student pilot certificate, and (3) open an aviation account.   If you have these three criteria completed prior to the start of the semester you will start flying the first full week of class.

How do the flight labs work?

This is a class in which you actually get college credit for learning how to fly. Each lab will have a specific syllabus that must be finished in order to complete the lab. When you enroll in the lab, you are automatically scheduled for two flight slots a week (either Monday-Friday, Tuesday-Thursday, or Wednesday-Saturday). Every time you fly, an invoice will be generated based on the number of hours flown, and the total amount will be deducted from your flight account. A running balance can be found on the invoice to let you know when you may need to add more money. Keep in mind that you can get financial aid to help pay for flight training and you do not have to have all of the money for a lab up front. As long as you have a minimum balance of at least $500 in your flight account, you are able to fly.

Am I qualified to apply for an airline pilot position immediately after graduating?

The answer is yes and no. The number one thing that airline employers are looking for once you have all of the certificates and ratings is flight experience in hours. If you complete the requirements for the degree only, you will graduate with Commercial Airplane Single and Multiengine Land Certificates with an Instrument Rating (everything you need for a job), but you will only have around 210 - 250 flight hours. In order to be marketable for the airlines, you will need any where from 800-1,500 flight hours depending on the need for pilots at the time.

How do I get the experience needed to get hired by the airlines?

All of the experience you need, you can find here. Not included in the requirements to graduate are flight instructor certificates, which we offer and highly suggest you completing. After you get your flight instructor certificate, we will conditionally hire and pay you $17-$23 per hour to work for HSU. As a flight instructor, you can build anywhere from 400-800 hours per year.

Your flight training is completed largely at your own rate. We have a minimum that we would like you to complete in a semester, but there is nothing stopping you from going ahead in your flight training. How the current curriculum is set up, you should be able to flight instruct your last one-two semesters prior to graduating, but it is certainly possible to be flight instructing before then and build up the flight hours needed to get hired as soon as you graduate.