The aircraft fleet at Southern Illinois University Carbondale is expanding this month. University officials announced they would be taking delivery of seven glass cockpit Cessna 172s earlier this month.
The aircraft were slated to be ferried from Independence, Kansas, to Southern Illinois Airport (KMDH). Several SIU aviation program officials, including director José R. Ruiz, chief flight instructor Steven Goetz, and several flight instructors were to be on hand to welcome the new aircraft.
“I am very excited at the prospect of acquiring seven new flight training aircraft because of the impact the new additions will have on our ability to serve our students,” Ruiz said. “Our students deserve the finest flight training available, and these new aircraft will assist us in meeting that expectation.”
According to Goetz, there were more than 350 students enrolled in the aviation flight program in the Fall of 2022, and he expects that number to increase in 2023. With the new additions, the number of aircraft available to the students climbs to 47.
Goetz noted that the fleet includes airplanes that rolled off the assembly line in the 1970s, and continuous maintenance and upgrades keep the aircraft airworthy.
“We use every bit of life out of them in order to make sure that we are being good stewards of our students’ money,” Goetz explains. “As the aviation industry grows, we have more and more demand for pilots and for flight training. Being able to bring on new airplanes that will allow our students to train on a modern flight deck and prepare for their careers better positions us to support the needs of the aviation industry in the nation.”
SIU Aviation has several aviation majors including aviation flight, aviation management, and aviation technologies.