Christmas came early for the aviation program at Eastern Kentucky University.
The University learned recently that it is one of five collegiate partners selected by Cessna Aircraft Company, a subsidiary of Textron Aviation Inc., to participate in the 2017 Top Hawk program. As a result, Eastern will receive a new, custom-branded Cessna Skyhawk 172 aircraft in early 2017 to support flight training, recruiting efforts and promotional activities during the academic school year.
“This is all I wanted for Christmas!” exclaimed Joe Marthaler, chief flight instructor for the program (aviation.eku.edu), who said the selection of EKU for the Top Hawk program “allows EKU Aviation to further enhance its position within the aviation community and market our program to the state and region. This alliance with Cessna is a brilliant occasion to showcase aviation in Kentucky and further secure Kentucky’s claim to being an aviation state. Kentucky is number two in the nation in exporting aerospace goods and services.”
The Cessna Skyhawk 172 features a glass flight deck, which “the industry requires to create a smooth transition for our students to the next level in their careers,” Marthaler said. “Our students will now have a choice that they would not have otherwise had.”
He added that the program will showcase its newest aircraft at numerous events “in order to enhance our footprint, both in and out of the state.” These include the Kentucky Aviation Association’s annual convention and its annual Aerospace Day at the Capital, as well as fly-ins, air shows and regional airport events.
Dr. Thomas Erekson, dean of EKU’s College of Business and Technology, which houses the aviation program, said the recognition from Cessna “speaks to the quality of the program and its outstanding faculty. We are very honored and look forward to an alliance with Textron Aviation as we prepare the next generation of professional pilots.”
The program boasts approximately 155 students, nine Cessna 172s in its fleet, and numerous partnerships within the aviation industry. With numerous partnerships with community and technical colleges throughout Kentucky, EKU offers the nation’s only FAA-approved “1,000-hour power” 2 + 2 degree pathway to aviation careers.
“Each year, the Top Hawk program continues to expand its reach and we are excited to grow the program with five university partners in 2017,” said Doug May, vice president of Piston Aircraft at Textron Aviation. “These universities are renowned for their innovative aviation programs and we are confident they will represent the Top Hawk program and Cessna brand very well as we work together to provide students state-of-the art resources and empower them to choose a rewarding career in aviation.”
Textron Aviation continues to partner with top aviation programs for collaboration and to support the advancement of general aviation and the modernization of aircraft training fleets. The partnerships with universities, training organizations and flight schools worldwide continue to support the next generation of aviators, and the Top Hawk program plays a vital role in this strategy.
Other university partners selected for the 2017 Top Hawk program are The Ohio State University, Auburn University, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and Louisiana Tech University.
In addition to the aircraft, the top students from each of the five universities will be chosen for a Textron Aviation summer internship. These students will receive valuable exposure beyond flight training to include real world experience from various corporate departments such as sales, marketing, flight operations, integrated supply chain and engineering to promote a career in aviation.
Garmin and Bose will also sponsor the Top Hawk program again this year by providing several of their industry-leading products. Garmin will provide a G1000 database subscription, GDL39 ADS-B receiver, Garmin Pilot subscription and Garmin VIRB XE HD action camera, and Bose will provide its A20 Aviation Headset for each Top Hawk aircraft.
About the Cessna Skyhawk 172
The Skyhawk is the world standard for pilot training and is renowned for offering the best combination of modern features, including the Garmin G1000 avionics system and proven dependability. The aircraft’s high-wing design enables superior flying characteristics ideally suited for pilot training. More Skyhawks have been delivered to customers around the world than any other type of aircraft, with more than 43,000 in service since 1955.
About Textron Aviation Inc.
Textron Aviation Inc. is the leading general aviation authority and home to the Beechcraft, Cessna and Hawker brands, which account for more than half of all general aviation aircraft flying. The Textron Aviation companies include Cessna Aircraft Company and Beechcraft Corporation, bringing together decades of unmatched experience in designing, building and supporting airplanes. It provides the most versatile and comprehensive general aviation product portfolio in the world through five principal lines of business: business jets, general aviation and special mission turboprop aircraft, high performance piston aircraft, military trainer and defense aircraft, and a complete global customer service organization. Its broad range of products include such best-selling aircraft as Citation and Hawker business jets, King Air and Caravan turboprops and T-6 military trainer aircraft, all of which are backed by the industry’s most capable global service network. For more information, visit www.txtav.com.