MURPHYSBORO, IL (KFVS) - Southern Illinois University's Aviation Program is now home to 3 new Piper Arrow Aircraft as some much-needed upgrades to 5 Cessna Aircraft that were manufactured in the 70s and 80s, according to Department Chair of Aviation Technology, Michael Burgner.
Since aviation students pay fees to be in the program, Burgner said the costs of the planes did not come out of the University's budget.
"A portion of those fees goes into an equipment reserve which every decade or so we're able to buy some new aircraft for the students," he said.
Burgner said the new planes are 2018 models with single engines, retractable landing gear, adjustable pitch propellers, and glass cockpits. They are also equipped with state of the art avionic packages or the dials and meters that give pilots flight info.
Assistant Chief Flight Instructor Andy Weis said the new technology makes learning to fly for students a smoother and safer process. The high tech avionic packages are able to read information, like weather patterns and if there are other planes in the air nearby.
Additionally, Weis said the new Piper Arrows' systems better reflect the cockpits of commercial jets, so they will better prepare students for their careers after they graduate flight school.
On top of making students' education better, Burgner said since the planes are so new they will cut costs of repairs significantly, saving the department money.