Announcing our exclusive partnership with Alaska Airlines to launch Ascend Pilot Academy

We at Hillsboro Aero Academy are thrilled to announce our new partnership with Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air to form the Ascend Pilot Academy (APA) program.

This new program provides a more financially accessible path to becoming a commercial pilot: among other incentives, enrolled cadet pilots will be eligible for low-interest financial aid and a stipend up to $25,000 upon signing on to work for Horizon Air and eventually Alaska Airlines. HAA will also contribute the cost of the Certified Flight Instructor Instrument (CFII) rating to eligible cadets. 

The launch of the program represents the culmination of months of planning between HAA, Alaska Airlines, and its subsidiary Horizon Air. The airline chose HAA because our values align closely with theirs, especially in regard to our rigorous commitment to safety, and because of our close proximity to Alaska's hubs in Seattle and Portland. Our students train in the same challenging weather and terrain conditions that the airline flies in, making us the ideal partner to train the next generation of their elite aviators. 

“The launch of Ascend Pilot Academy addresses a pivotal need to build a more diverse talent pipeline as we continue to strengthen and grow Alaska Airlines for the future,” said Joe Sprague, Horizon Air president . “This program will create an accessible pathway for the next generation of pilots, allowing Alaska to meet the needs of our guests by providing more aircraft to more destinations. Alaska and Horizon Air are proud to continue our commitment to equity across all programs and offerings, as we remove historical barriers to entry for new cadet pilots.”

We look forward to welcoming the first cohort of Ascend Pilot Academy students in April, and to a productive partnership for years to come. For more information on enrolling in the program, contact us at, or visit