California Baptist University’s Department of Aviation Science has doubled its enrollment within the last year. The program has gone from three planes to nine planes, and an increase of 38 students in the same amount of time.
The program offers three majors: aviation flight, aviation management and the latest addition, aviation dispatch. CBU’s program is one of the few collegiate aviation programs on the West Coast.
Sophomore aviation flight major Hannah Guajardo was one of the first to sign up for the inaugural aviation science class at CBU. She is an instrument-rated private pilot working on her multi-engine rating.
“Compared to others, I think this program keeps up extremely well, especially given the fact that our program is brand new,” she said. “We are a little more affordable compared to some other collegiate flight programs, and I really love the fact that we are in California.”
Aviation Science Department Chair Daniel Prather joined the faculty in July 2012. Since then, the department has soared under his direction. From writing the curriculum to increasing the number of aircraft, Prather has worked hard to move the program forward.
The program’s assemblage of aircraft includes a twin-engine Beechcraft Duchess, two-seater and single-seater Cessnas and a 727 cargo plane donated by Fed-Ex in January 2013.
The department also bought a flight simulator in September that has been integrated into some of its ground courses and is used for flight lab.
“The thing about flight simulation is it allows students to become more familiar with the aircraft in a low pressure environment,” Prather said. “There’s ways to alter many different variables in that simulation environment that you can’t do in an aircraft.”
The simulator can program in various failures and emergency modes such as an engine misfire or stormy weather,
“Finding a (simulator) you like is difficult because you do not have the ability to feel any of the motions and effects you would feel in the actual airplane,” Guajardo said. “I’m grateful that we found a nice sim of our own.”
The aviation program intends to grow the fleet and is searching the market for a more advanced simulator, new equipment and planes.