Due to the rapid increase of students enrolling in the aviation and space program, OSU purchased and added five Cirrus SR20 aircraft to its existing fleet.
OSU established the aviation and space program in 1948 and has seen the program grow in size exponentially recently. As of Nov. 22, 2019, the program has seen a 40% increase in general enrollment and a 50% increase in enrollment involving experienced pilots.
The program purchased the Cirrus SR20 aircraft last spring, and the planes arrived in October. They are user-friendly, and the Cirrus SR20 is the prime model used for training exercises across the country.
“College funds were used by the College of Education, Health and Aviation at OSU to purchase the new planes,” said Lance Fortney, manager at the OSU Flight Center. “The primary reason the Cirrus models were purchased was to deal with the expansion of students enrolling into the aviation and space program.”
The Cirrus models are used in commercial courses, including cross-country flying from Oklahoma City to Fort Worth, Texas. “Cross-country” in flight school terminology is the flight direction of anything greater than 50 miles.
The Flying Aggies, a group of students who pride themselves on the culture of aviation, will use the planes for regional and national competitions against many different institutions.
“I’m excited to operate a brand new plane with all the latest avionics,” said Gavin Abendschein, a professional pilot freshman. “The Cirrus aircraft are known for their luxurious quality and will generate an overall exhilarating experience for any pilot or passenger.”
Alongside the Cirrus SR20 aircraft, OSU boasts an impressive fleet of 33 planes. These planes come in different shapes and sizes intended to efficiently train pilots in every aspect for both business and personal gains.
The Air-Line Pilots Association (ALPA), a union that focuses on supporting pilots from both Canada and the United States, represents the OSU aviation and space program.
OSU is heavily involved with the ALPA Aviation Collegiate Education Club is the only school in the Big 12 Conference to be presented with the opportunity to partner with the committee.
This could explain the rapid increase of student enrollment over the past year. The ALPA has an outstanding reputation for advancing the development of professional pilots, and OSU has a fond relationship with the association. This recipe for success entices students who have a passion for aviation and space.
OSU is one of 18 schools in the country to grant students the opportunity to graduate with a degree in aviation.
“I think it’s a good sign that the program is growing and so is the university around it,” said Jake Mihelic, a professional pilot sophomore. “Even though some students aren’t accepted, the attention alone is enough to excite anyone a part of the program.”