Friday, February 03, 2012

SIU Aviation Students Rack Up Hours. (With Video)

JACKSON COUNTY - Cleared for takeoff.... That's what most students in SIU's aviation program have heard this winter. With only a few winter weather events so far this season, students are spending more time in the sky.

"The more that a student gets done, the quicker they can move through, which obviously helps our retention of those students as well as the graduation rates," says Mike Robertson, an assistant professor at SIU, "Even though last January, if you look back, was a pretty dry one, we still a lot of low-cloud days where we couldn't fly. We had many days like today where it's been sunny and unlimited visibility which has been very nice for the students to get stuff done."

In addition to the sunny skies, SIU aviation students also have new equipment. The school purchased five new Cessna Skyhawk airplanes. It's just another way SIU is preparing its students for the workforce.

"It allows us to keep up with the technology that's out there in the industry. Many airlines and corporate planes that are out there that these students will be flying will have this ethnology -- so it will expose them to the technology during their training. "

The new planes came at a cost of more than a million dollars -- paid for with student flight fees. They include different instrument displays, a moving map and enhanced GPS.

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