SUU aviation program purchases ten new planesTen new planes purchased from Cirrus Aircraft by Southern Utah University are expected to begin arriving in June. The first four planes are due to arrive June 3, followed by three in July and three in August. The fleet of red, fixed-wing planes features the Cirrus SR20, a technologically advanced, easy-to-fly modern training platform that will prepare both flight instructors and students to fly commercial airliners as well as military and general aviation aircraft.

The SR20 offers a durable airframe designed to handle rigorous training programs and is the only single-engine plane to come equipped with the life-saving Cirrus Airframe Parachute System as standard equipment. Designed to lower the airplane safely to the ground in the event of an emergency, the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System is revolutionary to airplane safety. In its class, the SR20 also features the latest in cockpit technologies, maximum cabin size and visibility, and instrument training systems designed to prepare students for flying more advanced aircraft.

“Globally, the aviation industry is expanding rapidly and the demand for qualified pilots is high,” said SUU President Scott L. Wyatt. “The addition of the Cirrus aircraft will elevate our program by offering the most advanced and safest training available in the world.”

According to SUU chief fixed-wing flight instructor Neal Donahue, the university’s aviation program is poised for growth. SUU’s fixed-wing program expects a 300 percent increase by the fall semester of 2017. The recent announcement of a partnership with SkyWest has increased enrollment.

“With a SkyWest mentor specifically assigned to SUU students, we are beginning to see our students moving into professional pilot careers and it’s very exciting,” said Donahue.

The strategic partnership between SUU and SkyWest is designed to leverage the unique resources of each entity with the goal of creating industry-leading career options for prospective pilots. For SUU students entering the Pilot Pathway Program, SkyWest Airlines provides tuition reimbursement and other resources to guide students on their way to beginning careers as SkyWest Airlines first officers.

“Our agreement with SkyWest puts graduates immediately into the cockpit in a sought-after, exciting career,” Wyatt said. “And with the addition of these new planes, our aviation program will be the best in our region and the nation.”

“We may become limited by the amount of airspace surrounding Cedar City,” said Mike Mower, executive director of SUU Aviation. “We are currently exploring options at other airports in the area to help alleviate air traffic issues that will likely arise in the next few years.”

“This purchase further cements SUU as a premier flight training school,” said Mower. “SUU is recognized for preparing students for 21st Century flight careers with fundamental airmanship and instrument skill training in collaboration with a premier regional airline.”

More information about SUU Aviation and the SkyWest Pilot Pathway Program is available at (435) 586-5462.

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