VU in the News

VU approves $5.85 million aircraft purchase for Aviation Flight program

July 27, 2017 / VU approves $5.85 million aircraft purchase for Aviation Flight program

VINCENNES, Ind. - Demonstrating its commitment to aviation training, Vincennes University will purchase $5.85 million in new aircraft for its Aviation Flight program in Indianapolis.

Cirrus Aircraft will provide eight aircraft and Piper Aircraft will provide three aircraft. The VU Board of Trustees Finance Committee approved the purchase on July 26, based on the recommendation of Michael Gehrich, director of the VU Aviation Technology Center.

“We currently have about 60 students in our Aviation Flight program. With this new fleet we will be able to start a new group of students twice a year, rather than just once now, so we believe the flight program will grow to about 100 students,” Gehrich said.

VU aviation students learn to fly at the Eagle Creek Airport in Northwest Indianapolis, just a few miles west of the Aviation Technology Center, site of VU’s Aviation Maintenance program that enrolls about 150 students.

Phil Rath, VU Vice President for Financial Services and Government Relations, said the net cost to VU should be about $5 million, anticipating the sale of VU’s current fleet of nine airplanes, following the delivery of the new aircraft in about one year. He said it is a sound investment given the strong demand for new pilots by the airlines.

“With the purchase of eight Cirrus SR20s, the primary trainer that our students will use, we will get the benefit of the latest technology. That is where we are going to get an edge over all other flight schools. We are going to be teaching in the latest technology planes out there. The added bonus is that these are the absolute safest aircraft built today for training pilots,”Gehrich said.

In addition to multiple ancillary backup systems, the SR20 also features the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System, designed to protect occupants in the event of an emergency by lowering the aircraft to the ground after deployment. This provides an additional measure of safety to occupants, which no other certified general aviation aircraft manufacturer in the world provides as standard equipment.

In addition to the purchase of the eight Cirrus SR20 aircraft, the VU purchase also includes two Piper Seminole aircraft, a multi-engine trainer, and one Piper Arrow aircraft, a complex single-engine trainer.

“I believe this purchase ensures that the flight program will continue to grow. It is a sign to employers that VU is investing in aviation and is serious about aviation training. It is also a sign to prospective students and parents that we are very proactive and concerned about their safety, as well as high-tech education. VU is always leading the way with technology and the type of training that is on the cutting edge,” Gehrich said.

He said that the new planes would be a welcome addition for VU, which last year completed a $6 million renovation of its Aviation Technology Center. Such investments are attracting a growing number of partnerships with airlines, such as Republic Airlines, which are seeking ways to attract more persons to flight training as the aviation industry continues to grow.

“We are training pilots to be future airline pilots. Teaching them in aircraft that are as close to what they are going to see in their careers is critical,” Gehrich said.


Located at the Indianapolis International Airport, the Aviation Technology Center is a vital part of Indiana’s first college, Vincennes University, a state-supported college founded in 1801.

Since 1993 the ATC has been the home to VU’s Aviation Maintenance Technology program that provides hands-on training for a number of careers in the aviation industry. Since 2010 the ATC has also been the home to VU’s Aviation Flight Program that trains students to become commercial pilots.

The 92,000 square-foot facility has two hangars and 15 aircraft, including a fully functional Boeing 737-200, two full-motion flight simulators, and two stationary simulators. Located a short distance from major aviation employers, the ATC includes 15 classrooms and 10 fully equipped laboratories.

Students can earn a Federal Aviation Administration Airframe and Powerplant Certificate along with either an associate of applied science degree or associate of science degree in Aviation Maintenance Technology in just 20 months. Flight students can earn private, instrument, commercial, and multi-engine ratings along with an associate degree in Aviation Flight. More information is available at or by calling 317-381-6000.


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