30 Aircraft Expected By Next Summer
When you were, say, 13
or so, did your dad ever bring home a brand-new, sleek and shiny
new car? Were you excited to just be able to ride around the block
in it, taking in the new car smell and dreaming of the day you'd be
able to drive it around on your own?
If so, Western Michigan University students can relate. The
students, enrolled in WMU's College of Aviation, no doubt felt some
deja vu Friday as they watched two new Cirrus aircraft descend at
W.K. Kellogg Airport in Battle Creek.
"I'm looking forward to flying it!" said student Marcus Williams
to the Kalamazoo Gazette as he sat inside one of the planes,
holding the side stick, and gazed upon the two flat-panel MFDs as a
Cirrus representative demonstrated some of the plane's
He later joked he'd be willing to play flight attendant, just to
be able to fly in one of the airplanes (just like I offered to wash
Dad's car -- Ed.)
Williams won't have to wait for long to fly the aircraft. The
planes are the first of 30 planned for the university's aviation
program. The mix of SR20s and SR22s are destined to replace the
college's current fleet of 39 Cessna 172s.
As was reported in Aero-News, the 10-year,
$40 million contract between WMU and Duluth, MN-based Cirrus Design
Corp. will also supply the university with new aircraft every two
years. The college intends to pay for the aircraft
with funds expected from sale of the Cessnas, as well as from
expected maintenance savings and cash reserves.
"Everybody in the college has been buzzing about it," said
student Brian Swintal.
The advanced Cirrus
airplanes are expected to introduce WMU students to levels of
technology they're expected to encounter once they entire the
commercial aviation realm. Each Cirrus features crash
avoidance systems, ground proximity alarms and the BRS parachute
"This is really going to prepare students for their life outside
of Western," said Brian Herm, a flight instructor.
Of course, in student's eyes, it certainly doesn't hurt the
airplanes are also sleeker and faster than the Cessnas they