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McKinney Boyd and TSTC Alumnus Richard Rensing is Living his Dream of Flying Commercial Airplanes

TSTC Communications|
Wednesday, February 14, 2024

(WACO, Texas) – Richard Rensing has taken off.

Rensing was exposed to flying aircraft at an early age and took classes at the McKinney Independent School District’s McKinney Aviation Academy. He graduated in 2019 from Texas State Technical College’s Aircraft Pilot Training Technology program at the Waco campus.

Rensing in cockpit smiling at the camera

Richard Rensing, an alumnus of McKinney Boyd High School and Texas State Technical College’s Aircraft Pilot Training Technology program is now a captain at Piedmont Airlines in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo courtesy of TSTC and Richard Rensing.)

Now Rensing is a captain at Piedmont Airlines, a subsidiary of American Airlines, and lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. He credits his time at TSTC, along with some persistence, in propelling him to where he is in his career.

Rensing typically works four days in a row and depending on the schedule, he has two or three days off. He recently talked about his work while on a day off from flying.

How did TSTC impact you?
TSTC taught me a really good foundation that springboarded me into my career. The students I was surrounded by were a good friend group going into the same major as I was. I am thankful for TSTC because the instructors were phenomenal and they wanted us to succeed. The certified flight instructors wanted us to succeed. We all wanted to get to the end result.

What flying experience did you have in Waco after graduating from TSTC?
I worked as a certified flight instructor and check airman at Universal Flight Concepts at Waco Regional Airport. I was earning flight hours as I worked. I was also looking for any way to make and build up money.

Rensing looking out of the cockpit window of Piedmont commercial airliner

Richard Rensing smiles from the cockpit of a Piedmont Airlines jet. (Courtesy of TSTC and Richard Rensing)

How did the pandemic affect your work?
I was working at Universal Flight Concepts when the pandemic happened. I was furloughed in June 2020. After a three-month period, I came back and continued to fly. I also tried to find jobs that I was able to get flying.

How did your career direction pivot at that point in your life?
It was February 2021, and I was sitting with my parents at dinner and got a call about 9:30 p.m. It was a representative of Central Air Southwest who saw I applied for a pilot position and asked me to send information. It is a company based in Kansas City, Missouri, that flies cargo and medical evacuation. When I started flying, it was from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m., Monday to Friday. The cargo I was delivering was medical supplies, blood samples, urine samples, and occasionally organs for people who needed transplants. The job really pushed me outside my comfort zone and made me a better pilot.

What factored into your moving up to work at an airline?
In summer 2021, the airlines started calling back those that had sent resumes. Piedmont Airlines emailed me back and told me they could have me in a class within two weeks. The first time I flew an airplane as a first officer was in mid-December 2021, from Philadelphia to Huntington, West Virginia. My parents were on that flight and the return flight the next day back to Philadelphia. It was a cool and emotional moment for me and my parents.

What do you enjoy most about your work?
There are a lot of emotions with it. It took a lot of really hard work and a lot of dedication, and a lot of sacrifice not only on my family’s part, but also on mine. I missed birthdays and special events to try to advance myself into a career a lot of people at my age would not be able to do. Looking back, I would not change anything.

According to, the need for commercial pilots in Texas was forecast to increase 21 percent between 2020 and 2030. The website stated that the median salary for commercial pilots in the state was more than $108,000.

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