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For many years, aviation sciences has been one of several programs that has made Southeastern Oklahoma State University distinct.
Aviation Sciences, which began at Southeastern in 1966, now serves 150 students who come to Durant from around the country to pursue their dream of becoming a professional pilot.
And the program received a big boost recently with the arrival of two new airplanes from Cirrus Aircraft.
Aviation Sciences Institute director Lloyd Sauls, lead flight instructor Elizabeth Resh, and senior instructor Jacob Shiver took possession of the planes earlier this week.
Southeastern pilots, joined by Cirrus director of fleet sales John Razmus, flew aircraft N901SE and N902SE to Eaker Field (home of SE Aviation) on Saturday. In addition, Sauls and Resh completed a five-day introduction and training course qualifying them for the Cirrus SR20 TRAC aircraft.
“This is really a major advancement in aviation at Southeastern,’’ Sauls said. “The Cirrus SR20 features a flight management system integrated with a modern autopilot system. This will allow our students to be better prepared to train on and fly today’s modern commercial and business jets by exposing them to advanced automated aircraft systems.’’
The planes were purchased through the 18-month “Soaring to New Heights Campaign.’’ Some 150 alumni and friends of the University contributed more than $1 million to the effort.
The addition of these aircraft now brings the Southeastern fleet up to 19 aircraft. The 150 aviation students are served by six teaching faculty, 17 instructor pilots, five maintenance personnel, and three staff members.
“Aviation is certainly one of our signature programs at Southeastern,’’ said Southeastern president Thomas Newsom. “The addition of these aircraft will serve to enhance the overall program for many years to come.’’
The Aviation Sciences Institute offers programs in aviation management, professional pilot (accredited by Aviation Accreditation Board International), and master’s in aerospace administration and logistics.
In addition, the Aviation Sciences Institute offers various programs at Rose State College and Tinker Air Force Base in Midwest City, Oklahoma.
Two innovative pathway programs are also available to students – the Envoy Pipeline Program through American Airlines, and the Destination 225 degrees program through Southwest Airlines.