California Aeronautical University Gets New Planes to Help Plug Pilot Shortage

Feb. 9, 2022

Feb. 8—California Aeronautical University bought six new planes to help train its aviators and address a pilot shortage, CAU officials said during a demonstration of the aircraft Tuesday.

The six new Cessna model 172S airplanes join the university's existing fleet of about 35 airplanes, said Matthew Johnston, CAU president. These planes were specifically picked for student pilots to ensure safety, said Christopher Hillard, a dispatch coordinator at CAU.

" California Aeronautical University takes pride in keeping its student-to-aircraft ratio at an appropriate level so students can begin flying in their first term of school and have aircraft available for their progression in the program," according to a news release from the university.

The newer models contain self-pilot equipment to maintain a level course in the event a plane banks too far left or right. In every other way, the plane feels the same for the students, Hillard said.

"Rated as one of the world's most popular single-engine training aircraft, the brand-new Cessnas are fully loaded and offer the latest technology available," according to a news release.

The new planes offer students a chance to train with the latest gadgets on the market, which was part of the school's motivation for the investment, Johnston said. Furthermore, the latest models require less maintenance and can be flown more often, Hillard added.

In the next couple of years, Johnston aims to add more, he said. Boeing has predicted more than 600,000 new pilots and maintenance technicians are needed in the next 20 years, according to a Boeing pilot and technician outlook. The new planes allow the school to train more students and supply qualified individuals to the workforce, Johnston said.

"(The school is) a little secret gem out here in ( Kern County)," Johnston said.

You can reach Ishani Desai at 661-395-7417. You can also follow her at @idesai98 on Twitter.


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