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Eastern Kentucky University recently purchased two additional Cessna 172s aircraft to add to its fleet of more than 20 aircraft in the Aviation program. The new planes are equipped with Garmin G1000NXi avionics suite as well as other advanced systems and are designated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as Technically Advanced Aircraft (TAA). The designation will allow EKU flight students to fly in what's known as an all glass cockpit and gain familiarity with state-of-the-art systems. 

"Glass" cockpitThe planes were picked up in Kansas by a crew from EKU. On August 14 they arrived at the Central Kentucky Regional Airport where they were enthusiastically welcomed by students, faculty and staff.

“It was met with a great deal of enthusiasm,” said Dennis Sinnett, Executive Director of the EKU Aviation program.

EKU offers Kentucky's only  FAA-approved, university-based flight program. As a Part 141 flight program, EKU can award a 1,000 hour Restricted-Airline Transport Pilot (R-ATP) certificate. This enables graduates to begin their professional career after attaining 1,000 hours instead of the typical 1,500 flight hours due to the superior training at EKU.  

As most commercial, charter, and other professional flying is now being accomplished in technically advanced aircraft, these new aircraft will allow our students to have invaluable experience in the most advanced training aircraft available.  By having the ability to train on these planes, EKU gives students the opportunity to enhance their resume and knowledge while preparing them for their future careers.

“This should give them a large advantage in terms of ability to be hired,” said Sinnett.

Sinnett anticipates that the new planes will significantly aid in recruitment by having new technology that will be very similar to what professional pilots fly.

“This is a huge milestone for the Aviation program,” he said.

As the program continues to grow, the next milestone is to break ground on the new EKU Flight Training Center that will be located at the Central Kentucky Airport. 

“We have a great faculty and a great number of instructors who are doing an incredible job at providing a sound, fundamental understanding of aviation to students,” Sinnett said. “It’s been a remarkable experience, a lot of people have been putting a lot of hard time in to ensure that the students are getting the training they need.”

For more information on the EKU Aviation program, visit