Morningside students take flight during launch of aviation program

Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 5:34 PM CDT
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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - On Tuesday, Morningside University launched its brand new aviation program, and KTIV was along for the ride. The exploratory ride we took is the first step for any prospective student.

At some point, each of the Morningside Aviation students took a flight like this: Lifting off to see if a career in aviation is right for them. Valerie Mejia took her flight on Tuesday, following in the footsteps of her father, who’s an airline pilot.

“He was really shocked about it, but he’s more excited and glad that I (was) following in his footsteps. I was shocked. He doesn’t expect anyone to really want to fly,” said Mejia.

On our flight, Instructor Aaron Diedrichs took us over the Morningside campus and then gave KTIV reporter Matt Hoffmann a chance to fly. And, for students, that experience will either spark further interest in the program or end it altogether.

“And the design is to get them through with a four-year degree at Morningside and ready for the airlines. And so they’ll go straight to the airlines from Morningside University and our flight training,” said Diedrichs.

Mejia successfully landed after an hour-long instructional flight. By her junior or senior year, she’ll become an instructor herself and teach new students in order to gain flight hours.

“I’m glad to be a part of it and get to help other people, like, be able to, like get to their dreams of being in the airlines or being a pilot,” said Mejia.

Tuesday was the very first flight in the program’s history. Right now, there are 11 students taking part. But Morningside hopes to expand to as many as 60 students by next year.