CW39 Feature Showcases Texas Southern's Aviation Program

Posted on Wednesday, January 13, 2021

aviation program thumb

Texas Southern University takes to the skies through its Aviation Science program. Shannon LaNier of CW39 Houston visited Ellington Field with TSU’s Aviation leadership and students on January 12 to learn more about the University’s distinctive four-year degree program. Texas Southern is the sole Texas institution to offer a four-year aviation degree and the only HBCU with on-campus flight simulators. 

LaNier met Dr. Terence Fontaine, TSU’s director of aviation, James Benham, TSU Board of Regents member, and Ahmed Farhan, a junior Aviation student pilot, as they flew in an aircraft at Ellington Field. TSU owns and houses two Cessna planes and holds classes at Ellington. 

“The airline industry, the commercial pilot industry, they have all said they need the leaders and also want diversity in their employment base. This is the way to do it,” Benham said. “The beautiful thing is unlike just going to the airport and getting your pilot’s license, you can get your license and your ratings, but you also get a four-year-degree from one of the most outstanding institutions in the state of Texas at the same time.” 

The Aviation Management with a Professional Pilot Concentration program began in 2016, but hundreds of students have graduated from the Aviation Science Management program that began in 1986. Students get hands-on experience inside the classroom with on-campus flight simulators and outside of the classroom to get critical flight hours in designated aircraft. 

“Ellington is the perfect spot for TSU’s flight program because it is quiet and it has a control tower. The students get an opportunity to receive feedback and instruction. We enjoy the fact that it has wide runways and we can spread out our airplanes. It’s just the perfect environment for Texas Southern University. Students have access to and train on top-of-the-line equipment such as Redbird simulators. They utilize the simulation equipment to log hours for the Instrument Ratings license and almost half of their hours can be done in the simulator as opposed to the aircraft which saves money and is done in a safer environment,” Dr. Fontaine said. 

Dante Jenkins is a junior student pilot who already holds a pilot’s license and plans to become a commercial pilot.  

“The program is very exciting. It’s just another step for me to further myself in aviation. It was a great accomplishment for me,” Jenkins said.  

For additional information about the Aviation program and how to enroll, visit  

Category: Faculty & Staff, Alumni, Students, News Media

Press Contact

Office of Marketing & Communications

Last updated: 01/13/2021