New Aircraft for Aviation Program
University President Wilma Mishoe ushered in a new era for Delaware State University’s Aviation Program on July 20 as she escorted the first Italian aircraft of a brand new fleet of 11 planes to Delaware.
After being shipped to Florida, the Vulcanair V1.0 flew to Salisbury, Md., where Dr. Mishoe joined pilot and aviation instructor B. Lane DeLeon for the plane’s inaugural flight into the First State. It landed at its new home, the Delaware Air Park – home of the DSU Aviation Program.
Dr. Mishoe said she was impressed with the new plane and her pilot, Mr. DeLeon – who graduated from the University last May with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation and is now an instructor with the program.
“It was an exhilarating flight,” Dr. Mishoe said. “I am so proud of him as a University product of our Aviation Program, and I am going to be looking for him to be flying on one of the those commercial flights I am going to be taking in the future.”
The Vulcanair V1.0 – the competitive Italian answer to the American-made Cessna 172 – is a single-propeller, three-seat plane with a wingspan of just under 33 feet. It reaches cruise speeds of 150 mph and flies to an altitude of 14,800 feet.
According to Lt. Col. Michael Hales, Aviation Program director, the rest of the new fleet will arrive through incremental shipments by the end of October. Combined with the existing 11-plane fleet, the Aviation Program will double its total fleet to 22 planes, and thereby double its training capacity, he said.
While the old fleet was well-maintained, the acquisition of the new fleet resolves an issue that was hanging over the Aviation Program.
New federal regulations required that all non-military planes in the U.S. be equipped with Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) technology by January 2020. The ADS-B allows an aircraft to determine its position via satellite as well as enables improved tracking by air traffic controllers.
The Aviation Program’s old fleet does not have that new technology, but the new fleet is arriving with it already installed. The acquisition of the new planes has bought the program additional time to get the ADS-B installed in the older aircraft.
Lt. Col. Hales said the new fleet of planes is a “game-changer” for the future of the Aviation Program.
“This new fleet will be a dramatic improvement in the future success of our Aviation Professional Pilot majors as they graduate and transition to the airlines,” Lt. Col. Hales said. “The technology in the new Vulcanair V1.0’s systems along with the latest avionics and our designation as the first Vulcanair Service Center in the USA sets us apart from any other university aviation programs.”
The Aviation Program director said profound thanks goes to the Delaware General Assembly for providing the University with funds from the state’s Higher Education Economic Development Investment Fund. He added that thanks also goes to DSU President Wilma Mishoe and Provost Tony Allen for agreeing to use that funding to invest in the Aviation Program.