Former Cochise College aviation student soars with new wings

Aviation student bartron

Tyler Barton receives his wings from Blake Ditlow, his PSA Airlines cadent mentor. James Cruze, another PSA cadet looks on.

Almost two years ago, Cochise College’s aviation department began a new pathways program for students. Once aviation students become certified flight instructors, they can apply to become cadets with partner regional airlines. If accepted, they remain at the college as a flight instructor and have an opportunity to build the required hours to obtain their R-ATP certificate while passing along their knowledge to future aviation students.

This month, one of the college’s first pathways cadets, Tyler Barton, is spreading his wings and leaving the nest after successfully completing the pathway program to start his new job as a first officer for PSA Airlines, a regional airline headquartered in Dayton, OH.

Barton completed his associate’s degree and logged 1,250 hours of flight time to qualify for his R-ATP certificate and become a first officer. Pathways cadets also receive tuition reimbursement from PSA Airlines of $625 for every 100 hours of flight time logged beyond 500 hours. They are paid as a flight instructor by the college during this time. This opportunity allows them to obtain their instrument instructor at a reduced cost.

“I am very appreciative of the expertise and knowledge of my instructors who enabled me to be successful and pursue my dreams. They helped me develop the skills I will need to continue my career in aviation,” said Barton. “I plan to spend the next two years at PSA Airlines to become a captain and eventually work for American Airlines.”

For more information about the aviation or pathways program visit or contact Sandra Rosales, Aviation Recruiter/Advisor at (520) 417-4165 or