Mr. Lauren G. Bitikofer, Chair
Flight training at LeTourneau University is designed to build a solid foundation of skills necessary for advancing in a professional aviation career. That foundation begins with the ability to handle an airplane well. The aviation industry overwhelmingly agrees that the best way to learn these foundational skills is in a tailwheel airplane. That’s why we start with the tailwheel airplane. Our tailwheel airplanes are equipped to have none of the distractions of the modern electronic cockpit and demand proper “stick and rudder skills.” The skills you learn first will determine, to a large extent, how well you can really fly an airplane. All students earn their Private Pilot Certificate in the tailwheel airplane and then progress through the Commercial Pilot Certificate with Instrument Rating using the latest TAA (Technically Advanced Aircraft). Professional Flight majors obtain Commercial multi-engine and single engine aircraft certificates with instrument rating, except for the military concentration which does not include the commercial certificate. Mission Aviation majors earn their certificates and ratings in single engine airplanes. Many students also earn the Flight Instructor certificate for single and/or multi-engine aircraft. Flight training is conducted in a variety of aircraft and Flight Training Devices (“simulators”) selected to maximize student learning.
Our training program is unique in the flight training industry because we use the Citabria tailwheel aircraft as our primary trainer. The first few hours of training are critical, and it is essential that students fly well during this time. Habits and patterns formed during this time often follow pilots throughout their entire career. Many pilots begin flying airplanes that are very easy to fly, which hide fundamental piloting mistakes because they are so docile. Thus, pilots trained in these aircraft often fail to realize they possess serious deficiencies in basic coordination and airmanship. In contrast, the Citabria easily exposes these errors, and better allows our instructors to immediately identify and correct problem areas. Because we can easily correct errors at the very first stages of training, it is harder for our pilots to form lazy or bad flying habits, which grow increasingly difficult to change the longer a pilot practices them.
Cost of Flight Training
Flight course fees are based on the amount of flight instructor time and aircraft time required to achieve the skills required for the given course. Charges for flight instructor time includes pre-flight briefing/instruction, flight instruction, and post-flight debriefing/instruction time as well as some ground instruction in preparation for specific flight checks. Aircraft charges are based on actual aircraft time and type of aircraft flown. Each course also includes fees for the simulations lab, electronic records keeping system, and in some cases FAA Check ride and Paperwork processing.
Flight fees must be pre-paid. Students have access to the University’s flight training electronic record keeping system so that they can actively monitor their standing. Students must have sufficient time in their schedules to allow adequate rest and study time.
Students may want to consider enrolling in flight courses during the summer. Flight training is intense, time consuming, and sometimes complicated by an otherwise busy university/work schedule. Attending flight courses during the summer relieves the workload during the regular semester and can shorten the time required to obtain flight certificates and ratings. (Note: Enrollment is limited and students are enrolled on a first come, first served basis. Contact the Director of Flight Training to get on the summer flight training list early in the academic year in which you wish to enroll in summer flight training.)
Transfer of Pilot Certificates, Ratings, and Training
If you do not already have pilot certificates and ratings, we encourage you to wait and get your training with us. There is a huge variation in the quality of training available and initial training creates lifelong habits.
Students who hold a pilot certificate prior to enrolling at LeTourneau are required to take Flight Policies and Standardization (AERF 1201 ) during their first semester of flight training. This course must be completed successfully before the student can take additional flight courses.
Credit for pilot certificates and ratings are contingent on the following policies. A student who enrolls and holds a Private Pilot Certificate obtained through a non-accredited entity (such as an FBO flight school or trade school) will be allowed to bypass Flight Science 1 (AERF 1113 ), Primary Flight I (AERF 1132 ) and Primary Flight II (AERF 1142 ). Credit hours from classes that are bypassed do not count toward the minimum credit hour requirements for the degree. Any college course not required in the degree can be used to cover the hours including flight instructor courses. However, if the student holds a Private Pilot Certificate that was obtained through an accredited college or university they may have the credit hours for AERF 1113 , AERF 1132 and AERF 1142 applied toward their degree once the course work has been evaluated by the registrar.
A student who has logged flight training toward a certificate or rating but has not completed that certificate or rating before beginning flight training at LeTourneau will be required to enroll in the appropriate course and complete the flight training syllabus for that certificate or rating.
Students who hold pilot certificates and ratings beyond the Private Pilot Certificate will be required to take a minimum of 12 credit hours of the following courses: Any AERF course, AERO 3423 , or AERO 4133 and complete at least one flight course leading to an additional certificate or rating.
Flight Training at other Institutions
Our goal is to direct each student through a professional pilot training program designed to maximize career potential. To aid in accomplishing this goal, once a student has enrolled at LeTourneau University, all subsequent flight training must be completed in residence at LeTourneau regardless of major. Students who receive flight training outside of the university’s program toward a certificate or rating that is required for their major/ minor will be withdrawn from that major/minor. This policy does not preclude rental of aircraft for personal transportation and recreational purposes.
Our goal is to direct each student through a professional pilot training program designed to maximize career potential. To aid in accomplishing this goal, once a student has enrolled at LeTourneau University all subsequent flight training must be completed in residence at LeTourneau regardless of major. Students who receive flight training outside of the university’s program toward a certificate or rating that is required for their major/minor will be withdrawn from that major/minor. This policy does not preclude rental of aircraft for personal transportation and recreational purposes.
Flight students not holding a pilot certificate must have a Student Pilot Certificate issued by a designated FAA Medical Examiner prior to registering for a flight training course. This certificate is issued by a medical doctor who is an FAA Medical Examiner. FAA Medical Certificates are issued at three levels: Class III, Class II, and Class I. You are advised to obtain a Class II Medical Certificate if you are planning to pursue a career in professional flight. You are encouraged to obtain your FAA Medical Certificate long before you plan to begin flight training. This will ensure that any medical issue can be addressed before actually enrolling in the flight curriculum. You must have a current FAA Medical Certificate for all courses involving flight training.
Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) Requirements
The TSA requires certain documentation from students before they can be enrolled in a Private Pilot, Instrument or Multiengine training program. This documentation must be completed before you can enroll in the following flight training courses at LeTourneau University: AERF 1132 , AERF 1142 , AERF 3411 and AERF 3412 . The documentation required will depend on whether or not the student is a citizen of the United States. More detailed information can be found at www.aopa.org/tsa_rule. The documentation requirements are:
A United States citizen must verify citizenship by presenting one of the following groups of documents:
- A valid, unexpired U.S. Passport
- An original or government-issued birth certificate accompanied by government-issued photo ID
- Original certificate of birth abroad, or original U.S. Naturalization Certificate, or original certificate of U.S. citizenship, all with raised seals and accompanied by a government-issued photo ID
Non-United States citizens enrolling at LeTourneau University for flight training need to notify the School of Aeronautical Science at least 60 days before you plan to begin training. We will assist you in making application with TSA for a clearance to train. This process takes some time, and the TSA charges a nonrefundable processing fee. The student will have to present a current passport and visa.
Flight students are expected to remain in good standing with the university behaviorally (see Community Life Expectations in the Student Life chapter). A student placed on Disciplinary Probation or Disciplinary Warning for any cause may be reviewed for warning, probation, or suspension from the flight program. All flight students are required to uphold all federal and state aviation guidelines. In case of an accident or incident, the student may be required to undergo supervised drug testing at the expense of the University. Refusal to take this test may be grounds for disciplinary action as outlined in the above paragraph.
Restricted Airline Transport Certificate (ATP)
LETU’s School of Aviation and Aeronautical Science has received approval for many of our degrees to be eligible for the Restricted Airline Transport Pilot (R-ATP) certificate. We have a dedicated website to explain the process to determine degree eligibility. Part of the process is also ensuring that students have the appropriate number of credit hours from FAA-approved coursework in order to qualify for either 1,000 hours total time or 1,250 hours total time for the R-ATP certificate. This information will be important to students in planning the courses taken at LETU. The website is available here.
It is important to note that any pilot certificates or ratings beyond the Private Pilot Certificate earned outside of LeTourneau’s flight training program are extremely unlikely to be accepted by the FAA as meeting the requirements needed for the graduate to be eligible for the R-ATP certificate.
LeTourneau maintains working agreements with several airlines to provide a pathway for select students to move directly into an airline career. In general, students must receive all post private pilot training at LeTourneau, maintain a minimum GPA, and qualify to work as a LeTourneau flight instructor.
Flight Science Majors and Concentration
LeTourneau has a long heritage of preparing students for service as missionary pilots and technicians. Mission aviation organizations visit the campus regularly, meeting with students and providing input into the training program.
This major combines cross cultural studies with the aircraft systems science curriculum and a mission focused, commercial flight training program. This major includes the flight training leading to the Commercial Pilot Certificate with Instrument Rating in single engine aircraft and the training leading to the Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) Mechanic Certificate. Students interested in serving in mission aviation in a non-flying capacity should take the Maintenance Concentration (AAMM) for mission aviation.
This major includes the training leading to the Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) Mechanic Certificate. It is for students interested in serving in mission aviation in a non-flying capacity.
This major is designed for the student preparing for a career as a professional pilot. It leads to certification as a commercial pilot multi-engine and single engine with instrument ratings with a strong emphasis on large commercial aircraft operations. The Flight Instructor certificate is highly recommended. This degree can be completed in eight regular semesters.
This concentration is designed for the student who wants to combine flight training with the aviation maintenance science curriculum leading to a commercial pilot multi-engine and single engine with instrument ratings, as well as the A&P mechanic certificate. This is a highly technical degree with a strong emphasis in general aviation operations, including corporate aviation. This is the most technical degree we offer and provides the broadest background for a career in aviation ranging from airline, corporate, missions, military, and general aviation. The Flight Instructor certificate is recommended. This program can be completed in eight regular semesters and one summer session.
This concentration is designed for the student interested in pursuing a flying career in one of the U.S. Military branches. While the student does not complete all of the professional flight training required for civilian pilots, this concentration will give that competitive edge you will need to truly excel in military flight school. This concentration also gives you the flexibility to choose a focus area such as leadership, management, or international studies.
Aviation Management, Professional Pilot Concentration, B.S. (AVMF)
This concentration combines a strong management foundation with the courses and skills needed to become a professional pilot. This degree would be of particular interest to students wishing to combine flying with owning or operating an aviation business.
A student may obtain flight training by declaring the professional flight minor added to any other major at LeTourneau.
Flight Instructor Multiengine Minor (FIM)
This minor includes courses leading to Flight Instructor - Multi-Engine, Single Engine, and Instrument. The initial Flight Instructor Certificate in this minor is the Multi-Engine.
Flight Instructor Single Engine Minor (FIS)
This minor includes courses leading to Flight Instructor - Single Engine and Instrument. The initial Flight Instructor Certificate in this minor is the Single Engine.
Professional Flight Minor (FL)
This minor includes courses leading to certification as commercial pilot multi-engine and single engine with instrument rating. Flight instructor certificates and ratings may also be added to this minor. Because flight minor students are not required to take Aviation Maintenance Science courses, additional ground instruction is typically required to prepare for FAA knowledge tests and practical tests.