Flaps? Check. Fuel level? Check. Oil level? Check. Propeller? Check.
After a lengthy pre-flight safety inspection process, an aircraft is deemed “airworthy.”
And so is Kris Frost, a sophomore in Aviation/Professional Flight Management at the
Auburn University College of Business. He is one of roughly 100 students involved in the program – the second-oldest such
program in the nation.
“Flying isn’t scary for me,” said Frost, just moments before preparing Wednesday afternoon
for a 90-minute flight from Auburn University Regional Airport. “But I am afraid of
heights. You just don’t feel like you’re up in the air up there.”
Frost isn’t just an aspiring pilot, he has another hobby. A decorated high school
All-American from Matthews, N.C., a suburb of Charlotte, the 6-foot-2, 233-pound Frost
is a linebacker on the Tigers’ football team. Playing behind senior Daren Bates, Frost
accrued five tackles last season and forced a fumble.
Frost will be featured in an upcoming Auburn IMG Network production of “Auburn Every
Day” to be broadcast the week after the April 20 A-Day spring practice game.
“We’re always looking for good stories off of the field from our athletes,” said Chandler
Harkey, Director of Video Production for the Auburn IMG Sports Network. Harkey spent
the afternoon of March 20 with Frost and videoed his flight from inside a Cessna 172,
and pre-flight preparation.
“On my official visit to Auburn (in 2010), my major was important to me,” Frost said.
This was the only school I saw where they had an airport real close to the campus.
When I was here, I talked to them about the aviation program. I’ve always been interested
in flying and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.”
Frost said he has been flying roughly “three times per week” since last summer. For
now, the young pilot must fly with an instructor.
Wednesday, that instructor was David Hoebelheinrich, an Auburn junior and aspiring
pilot pursuing a degree in aviation management.
“Today he (Frost) some basic maneuvers including steep-turns, stalls, and normal landings
with a crosswind. He did pretty well and we had a good time up there. There's no better
class than one that takes you a few thousand feet above campus while flying at speeds
When asked what his favorite maneuver is, the fearless Frost said “stalls.”
“When an airplane can’t produce lift … it gives you a rush,” Frost said. “That’s what
we fly for – get ourselves out of situations.”
Frost said football and flying have their share of similarities.
“They are very similar because you have to multi-task in both,” he said. “In the air,
you are making radio calls and listening to your instructor, who is like a coach beside
you … minus the yelling. You put in a lot of work outside of being on the playing
Auburn’s program has grown to become one of the most prestigious in the nation.
Hoebelheinrich, also Vice President of the War Eagle Flying Team, said the program
“Is a path to becoming a professional aviation businessman or pilot. It combines aviation
courses into a business degree. What we do here at the airport is conduct the pilot
courses needed by the students to earn certifications required to become a professional
“Classes include a three-credit hour ground school for each rating and then a flight
lab with it as well. During the flight labs you will have three two-hour aircraft
blocks a week where you will go flying with your dedicated instructor. During these
flights you are getting one-on-one instruction and learning things from landings,
maneuvers in the air, navigation, and all of the things that go behind the scenes
like aircraft systems, weather, etc. It's a very unique opportunity to learn and have
quality one on one instruction.
“Auburn is one of the oldest flight schools in the country with successful alumni
at almost every major airline. It's a relatively small program, however it produces
a quality well-rounded product that is marketable to many companies.”
Frost is already considering what he wants to do in the future. Are professional pilot’s
“I’m really considering it, depending on football,” he said. “Aviation opens a lot