- Associated Press - Friday, February 21, 2020

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) - Marshall University has approved the purchase of three airplanes for its planned aviation degree program.

The Marshall Board of Governors on Thursday gave the go-ahead for the purchase of two $500,000 airplanes for student training that have parachutes for use in an emergency, along with a $175,000 plane with cable controls used for teaching spin maneuvers, the university said in a news release.

The university also plans to buy additional start-up equipment, including simulators.

Private grant funding in part made the purchases possible, including a $1.5 million donation from the Charleston-based Maier Foundation.

Marshall plans to offer two new degrees in aviation sciences to train commercial airplane and helicopter pilots at its South Charleston campus. Charleston’s Yeager Airport also will host classes and will include a new hangar for Marshall’s aircraft and classrooms.

In November, Marshall and Mountwest Community and Technical College agreed to offer a joint associate degree program for aviation maintenance technicians.

Marshall President Jerome A. Gilbert said in the statement the programs “will provide outstanding opportunities for students and be a catalyst for economic growth in our state and region.”

The board also approved naming the aviation school in honor of Marshall alumnus and board member Bill Noe.

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