Salina’s aviation maintenance program recognized nationally


K-State Salina is working its way up the aviation ladder with its avionics program receiving industry standard accreditation from the National Center for Aerospace and Transportation Technologies.

The center gave the recognition in the spring, but it was announced this semester.

Raylene Alexander, assistant professor in aviation and the avionics program lead, said the center looks to see if the school is teaching certain criteria in the classroom, like basic electricity, safety and proper handling of the tools.

“It’s a huge influence for prospective students,” she said, about the recognition.

She also stressed, however, this is not an academic accreditation. Academic accreditation would require a visit inspection from the Kansas Board of Regents.

The National Center for Aerospace and Transportation Technologies is a nonprofit organization that uses industry experts to recognize schools that reach and surpass educational standards.

K-State Salina’s avionics program offers aviation maintenance certification, meant to prepare students for the ever-changing field of avionics. Students in the avionics program work hands-on with the latest technology used in today’s aviation maintenance industry. The program works to prepare students for careers in fields like aircraft design, maintenance, inspection and repair.

Kurt Barnhart, professor and head of the department of aviation, said the equipment they use is the “latest and greatest.”

Some of this equipment

includes the use of a glass cockpit, with a fully functional avionics system. The cockpit is equipped with LCD display screens that allow pilots to view vital information about positioning and movement.

Integrated in these cockpits are G1000’s, the latest avionics suites, or systems, from Garmin. These systems display vital information including navigation, weather and engine data, as well as giving traffic and terrain avoidance.

Robin Suprenant, senior in aviation maintenance technology, said she enjoys the avionics program and thinks it is preparing her for the field she wants to work in.

“It’s on the leading edge, and it’s benefiting us in the long run,” she said.

Alexander said she hopes what is now a certification program can become even bigger in the future. She said the school is looking into adding courses gradually and organizing the education courses based on what students would like to do for their careers.

“That’s the direction we’re heading, so it can fit their career choice,” she said.

Barnhart said there have been proposals to look into making the certification program a bachelor’s program in the future.

As for now, Barnhart said the recognition K-State Salina received shows the dedication of the avionics program and its commitment to excellence.