- Associated Press - Saturday, April 29, 2017

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A new Cessna Skyhawk aircraft has been provided to Auburn University for six months for educational events and pilot training.

Seventeen students along with Auburn University Aviation Center personnel recently took a field trip to Textron Aviation headquarters in Wichita, Kansas, where they were presented with the aircraft, the Opelika-Auburn News (https://bit.ly/2qcoQSo) reported. They boarded an American Eagle jet, operated by Envoy Air, at the Auburn University Regional Airport and made a 1 hour and 45-minute flight to Kansas.

“I am really happy to fly this plane back to Auburn,” said junior Hampton McDonald of Atlanta, a professional flight management major and a flight instructor with the Auburn University Aviation Center. “Having this aircraft will allow us to better advertise our program and it will support our efforts to recruit students. From an employment standpoint, there is a huge demand for aviation professionals.”

Textron Aviation is providing the Skyhawk as part of its Top Hawk partnership with top university aviation schools. The Skyhawk holds four people and is equipped with the latest Garmin G1000 NXi avionics, Garmin Virb Camera and Bose A20 Aviation Headsets.

“We plan to take this aircraft to air shows, career fairs and as many events as we can to share aviation with young people,” said Bill Hutto, director of the Auburn University Aviation Center. “We are very grateful to Textron Aviation for the plane and to Envoy Air (a subsidiary of American Airlines) for providing the jet and crew which allowed us to bring our students to Wichita.”

Three to five educational stops are scheduled monthly for Auburn aviation students and the Skyhawk, including the Smoky Mountain Air Show in April in Knoxville, Tennessee; Thunder in the Valley Air Show in Columbus, Georgia, also in April; Tuskegee Fly-In in May; Auburn University Aviation Camp in June; and the Pensacola Air Show in July.

Textron Aviation’s Top Hawk program began in 2015.

“Our goal is to promote general aviation and the next generation of pilots,” said Jennifer Harden, Textron Aviation regional sales director for professional flight training. “We are honored to have such a great university like Auburn as one of our Top Hawk partners for this year.”

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Information from: Opelika-Auburn News, https://www.oanow.com/


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