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Minnesota State University, Mankato
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University's Aviation Professional Flight Program Receives Accreditation

Minnesota State Mankato one of less than 40 institutions nationally to have accredited aviation program.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release, 10-1-2015

Mankato, Minn. – Minnesota State University, Mankato was recently notified that its bachelor of science degree program in aviation (professional flight), which prepares students to be commercial pilots, has been accredited by Aviation Accreditation Board International.

It’s the first time a Minnesota State Mankato aviation program has been accredited by AABI, which on its website lists less than 40 institutions in the United States as currently having accredited aviation programs.

“We’re very proud of our aviation professional flight program for having received AABI accreditation,” said Richard Davenport, president of Minnesota State Mankato. “It shows that our growing aviation program is not only a leader in our five-state region, but also one of the finest in the nation. I want to congratulate the College of Education and our aviation faculty and staff on this achievement, and also thank our partner, North Star Aviation, for providing our students the professional flight training that is in high demand in today’s marketplace.”

Minnesota State Mankato contracts with North Star Aviation to provide flight instruction for its aviation professional flight students. North Star Aviation provides the airplanes (three different models) and full-motion simulators, to include an Aerosim CRJ700 Flight Training Device (FTD) that was installed on campus in February 2014.

Mark Smith, president of North Star Aviation, Inc., said the aviation professional flight program accreditation was another step toward the aviation program attaining national prominence.

“This is great news for our University and its aviation students,” said Smith. “The strength in our partnership with Minnesota State University, Mankato has pushed this program to new heights. We never lose sight on our objectives, which is ‘safety first’ and the well-being of our students.  The AABI accreditation for this program will be a major attraction to the top tier airlines across the United States. With a newly accredited program and the high demand for professional pilots worldwide, I believe the best years for this program are still to come.”

The Department of Aviation at Minnesota State Mankato is part of the University’s College of Education. The aviation program offers four-year bachelor’s degrees in aviation with a concentration in either professional flight or aviation management. Aviation management concentrates on preparing a student for a career in the wider aviation community not involved in piloting an aircraft such as airline management, airport management, air traffic control, and manufacturing.

This fall semester, there are currently 176 students in Minnesota State Mankato’s aviation program, with 110 of those listed as professional flight program students. This is an increase in the 110 overall students that were in the aviation program four years ago.

Tom Peterson, assistant professor and coordinator of Minnesota State Mankato’s Aviation Program, said the AABI accreditation would be very beneficial to students.

“The AABI accreditation for the Minnesota State Mankato Aviation Program is an important step forward in gaining increased recognition from the airline world for our aviation program and our graduates,” said Peterson. “We have now met some very tough and stringent program requirements, which puts the MSU Aviation Program in the upper tier of collegiate aviation programs. The airlines have indicated they prefer graduates from AABI-accredited programs since their education and training is the product of a more rigorous and disciplined aviation program. This is an exciting achievement for all of us in the Minnesota State Mankato aviation department.”

For more information about aviation at Minnesota State Mankato, please call the Department of Aviation at 507-389-6116 or send an email to

Minnesota State Mankato is the only college or university in Minnesota with an aviation program.

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,376 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 31 state institutions.

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