Reasons to Choose BBCC

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Big Bend Community College Aviation Commerical Pilot Training Program Flight School

1. Quality of Training

Big Bend Community College’s flight training program is second to none. There is no better place to train to be a commercial pilot than in Moses Lake, Washington. We have been training aviation professionals since 1965 and have a great reputation for training career pilots to the highest skill standards. Our training curriculum, flight training team, large training fleet, great weather, numerous degree options, huge airport, low cost, and connections with industry make choosing Big Bend Community College the best option available.

2. Cost

Big Bend Community College’s fleet is owned by the State of Washington. Since we do not contract our flight training out to a local company, we offer a great cost advantage back to our students, compared to our competition.

A planning sheet on what a student can expect to pay each quarter at BBCC can be found on the Rates and Fees page.

  • We only charge off the Hobbs meter for our flight lab fees (engine start to engine stop). All ground pre and post flight training is not charged, but is included in tuition fees.
  • This is a significant saving for our students, since most flight schools in North America charge $40/hour or more for any one-on-one ground instruction with a certified flight instructor.
3. Weather

Moses Lake, Washington is famous for great flying weather, experiencing an incredible 350 VFR flying days per year!

The climate here is definitely not Seattle’s… Moses Lake is located on the other side of the Cascade Mountains, in the semi-arid desert of central Washington State. According to NASA, we have Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC) 94% of the time. Chances are very good that the current weather in Moses Lake is excellent for flying!

4. Degree Options

At Big Bend Community College there are numerous degree options.

An average student will have the opportunity to complete two degrees from BBCC and be working on a third degree through Central Washington University or Embry Riddle.

For a complete list of the eight degree options that BBCC students can choose from, please visit the degrees page.

5. Airport

We fly from the best training airport in the Northwest. With 4,700 acres and a main runway 13,500 feet long x 200 feet wide Grant County International Airport is one of the largest airports in the United States, and is even authorized as an alternate landing site for the NASA Space Shuttle.

A former Strategic Air Command (SAC) base, it was decommissioned in 1965 and has been owned and operated by the Port of Moses Lake since 1966.

Jet traffic is sufficient to indoctrinate our students to large aircraft traffic. Airport and radio facilities are unsurpassed, with ATIS, two tower frequencies, ground control, approach control, and the latest state-of-the-art radar service available. All Air Traffic Control facilities are FAA operated. We also have three nearby auxiliary airfields available for training.

The main runway is 13,500′ by 200′ and the crosswind runway is 10,000′ by 100′. There are two smaller runways, one 3,263′ by 75′ and the other 3,025′ by 75′. The Airport is a certified air carrier airport and provides a full line of aeronautical services that include a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Traffic Control Tower, state of the art ASR-9 Radar, precision ILS on the main runway, PAPI, VASI, VOR, DME, ATIS full runway and taxiway lighting and a new Automated Surface Observation System (ASOS). In all, there are 13 instrument approach procedures which include an ILS, MLS, NDB, VOR and GPS. Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting Index A is also available at our airport.

The major advantages for using Grant County International Airport for both private and crew training can be summarized as follows:

Unobstructed air space that does not conflict with commercial traffic.
Favorable weather conditions. The Grant County International Airport usually can expect 350 VFR days per year.
Radar coverage with experienced air traffic controllers that provide a service to student pilots and commercial operations.
Well-maintained runways and taxiways. The Airport has a full-time maintenance staff devoted to airfield maintenance with complete on-airport snow removal and services.
Complete on-ground support services that include, but are not limited to, refueling and in-plane services.


Grant County International Airport is used by many airlines and companies for training and testing, such as:

The Boeing Company
Japan Airlines 747 crew training is based in Moses Lake
U.S. Military conducts training missions almost on a daily basis in Moses Lake
Many other air carriers from around the world


6. Fleet

Big Bend Community College’s Aviation Sciences has 35 aircraft to support the Flight & Aviation Maintenance Technology program.

On May 24th, 2007, BBCC took delivery of a B727 from FedEx. This aircraft will be utilized by both programs in Aviation Sciences, for Aviation Maintenance Technology projects and Commercial Pilot systems training.

Flight Program (26)   Maintenance (10)
  • Boeing 727
  • Piper Warrior III (2)
  • Beechcraft B-19 (11)
  • Beechcraft C-23 Sundowner (6)
  • Beechcraft F-33A Bonanza (3)
  • Beechcraft D95A Travelair
  • Bellanca 7GCBC Citabria
  • Cessna 180 Floatplane
  • Boeing 727
  • T-39A Saberliner
  • Cessna T-41
  • Beechcraft B-55 Baron
  • Beechcraft 58P Baron
  • Piper PA32R-300 Lance
  • Cessna C-170
  • Bell 47 helicopter
  • UH-1H helicopter
  • Emair MA-1 cropduster

Our airplanes are among the finest trainers available. Seventeen are four-place, fully instrumented Beechcraft Sports and Sundowners. We also have three Beechcraft Bonanzas with retractable gear and a constant speed propeller for high performance training. A Citabria is used to give tail wheel experience. This gives the student a good background for all types of single engine aircraft. A Beech Travelair is available for those desiring a multi-engine rating. Additional training is available in the floatplane. In March 2006, we took delivery of two technically advanced Piper Warrior IIIs which both have the Avidyne FlightMax Entegra Primary Flight Display and FlightMax EX5000 Multi-Function Display (glass cockpit design).

For additional information on our fleet please visit the Fleet page.


7. College


BBCC is centrally located in Moses Lake, Washington, three hours east of Seattle. The city is named after the lake it surrounds, one of the state’s largest freshwater lakes and source of many recreational activities. The college campus is located adjacent to the Grant County International Airport, which allows our students to walk from our aviation facilities to their dorms and to virtually anywhere on campus.

For additional information on BBCC’s location and driving directions, please visit the Contact Us page.


Flight Training Center

The new Flight Training Center Building was dedicated with a grand opening in the fall of 2003. The College operates this aviation administration building, which holds faculty offices, flight operations, training simulators, and classrooms. The flight line features: six Aviation Flight Lab computers with flat screen LCD monitors and DVD drives (all have Microsoft Flight Simulator X), 2 Elite Flight Simulators that the students have free access to, a CATS testing facility (for FAA knowledge exams), instructor offices, a simulator area, flight planning area, a commons area, a large schedule board, dispatcher’s office, and four classrooms. In addition, there are many training aids, including a large floor-standing E6B, an engine cutaway featuring all the moving parts, exhaust system cutaway and many others.

BBCC flight facilities are located on approximately 60 acres with over 15 acres paved or graveled for hangar operation, administration, fuel/wash areas, parking and ground circulation areas for aircraft. More than 100 acres of additional land (College and Port owned) adjacent to taxi and runways is available for expansion.

The College operates a covered hangar of 29,000 square feet, housing 25 of the college aircraft. The College also operates a recently remodeled aircraft maintenance technician training building of 28,000 square feet, and the new flight training center of 11,500 square feet. This gives Aviation Sciences a total 68,500 square feet of building space.

For pictures of our facilities, visit Our Facilities page..

The college has a new, state of the art Advance Technologies Education Center. This building holds the new library, large conference room and dining center. The building has wireless internet capabilities as well as several video conference classrooms and conference areas.

The gymnasium houses a large basketball court, volleyball, racquetball, bleacher seating with a maximum capacity of 2,200 people, a free weight room, nautilus-style workout rooms, and a concession stand.


BBCC offers residence hall living accommodations. The rooms are large in size, measuring 16′ x 10′ with 9′ ceilings. There is an abundance of in-room storage space, safe 24-hour security, and two trained resident advisors on every floor. All rooms are equipped to handle telephone and Internet connections.

Phillips and Viking Halls are among the safest residence halls in the state. The Resident Advisors go through an extensive training program, and there is also a live-in Resident Director who is on call 24 hours a day.

Aside from being an affordable place to live, the residence halls at BBCC also provide an exceptional environment for our students. The residence halls are located within two hundred feet of the Aviation Sciences buildings, the library and the dining hall. For fun and recreation, the residence halls offer intramural sports, athletics, trips, events and other exciting activities.


BBCC is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges. Its transfer credits are normally accepted by other accredited colleges.

8. Connections with Industry

Big Bend Community College has been training aviation professionals since 1965. We have alumni located all around the world, flying for every major airline in the U.S. and virtually every regional airline.

With such an extensive network, BBCC has established numerous relationships that have aided in student employment and allowed our program to grow and be recognized as a world leader in flight training. Please visit our Alumni page to view the numerous airlines where our alumni are currently working.

9. Faculty

Students at BBCC are trained by career flight instructors. The BBCC flight staff has an extensive and varied industrial background including: multi-engine jet pilots, commuter airline pilots, ex-military pilots, charter pilots, seaplane pilots, helicopter pilots, and private fixed base operators. Our team of senior career flight instructors has a combined total flight instruction of over 55,000 hours and over 94 years of combined flight instruction experience at BBCC alone!

At BBCC our senior flight instructors fly a regular flight schedule, give check rides, are student advisors, and teach our ground schools. Most flight training college senior staffs only teach their ground schools or have a limited flight schedule. BBCC students learn from some of the best instructors around, out of one of the largest airports in the world.

10. Four Day Class Schedule

The four day week started in the 1970’s, was well liked by instructors and students, and has been our schedule ever since. Flight students can expect to be assigned a dual flight period on either a Tuesday/Thursday rotation or a Monday/Wednesday rotation. Fridays are often used to study for upcoming tests or enjoy some of the activities the Columbia Basin has to offer. Contract training schedules may vary.


Big Bend Community College (BBCC) operates an FAA approved pilot school and holds air agency certificate #EL8S116Q. The flight program started in 1965 with 23 students and three airplanes. Today with 26 aircraft and up to 14 full-time instructors, the Aviation Sciences programs can accommodate over 120 students in the flight program, and approximately 50 students in the aviation maintenance program.

Aviation Program Due to Take Off, From

From “The Vikings Voice” April 19, 1965

From “The Vikings Voice” April 19, 1965

Flight and Aviation Maintenance Technology Curriculum

The 18 month flight curriculum is designed to take a student with zero flight experience to the completion of a private pilot certificate, and then the completion of a single engine commercial certificate with instrument rating. Our students then have the option of adding on a flight instructor certificate, float plane rating and multi-engine rating.


During the course of our 18 month flight program, an average student will fly 220 hours to gain a commercial pilot certificate with an instrument rating. Aviation Maintenance Technology courses are self-paced with variable credit. The Aviation Maintenance Technology program can be completed in as little as 5 quarters. Aviation training at BBCC is taken in conjunction with academic or vocational courses that the student chooses, to fulfill the requirements of the Associate in Arts and Science Transfer Option or the Associate in Applied Science Occupation Program.


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