October 1, 2023

The Department of Aviation Science at California Baptist University purchased new planes from Piper Aircraft to help students learn more advanced aircraft systems and cut down on logistical costs. 

The new fleet, consisting primarily of Piper Archer aircraft, offers a new computer system that increases situational awareness and makes it easier to maintain than the older Cessna 172 aircraft the department replaced.

This system, the Garman 1000, has a primary flight and a multi-functional display, which allows pilots to have superior awareness of weather and flight patterns of other aircraft.  

The primary flight display shows traditional readings such as airspeed and altitude. The multi-functional display typically shows a map and has other screen options, as well. 

This system also allows pilots to create their own flight path and see other flight paths and weather conditions to the same degree as air traffic controllers.

Dr. John Marselus, chair of the Aviation Science Department, said one of the best advantages this system offers is increased safety for students and safety for the instructors, as well. 

“It really upped the safety of our program because now we have technology in our aircraft that allows them to do aeronautical decision-making due to the incredible amount of situational awareness,” Marselus said.

The aircraft themselves are also brand new 2018 models fresh from Piper Aircraft. They are of a low-wing design similar to commercial and military aircraft as opposed to a parasol wing design like the Cessna 172s, which makes them better analogues to what aviation flight majors will be flying in their careers.

Ryan Beck, sophomore aviation science major, affirms this advantage from personal experience and further goes on to praise the Archer.

“I like the Archers. I like the low-wing because it prepares us for what we will be flying in the future. That is more what I prefer. I love the way it flies and its stability, and it climbs really well. We are thankful to have them,” Beck said.

The Archers are also all standardized, which makes maintenance and training easier since each aircraft is exactly the same. The Cessnas were technically all the same model but have slightly different features between them, which made some students prefer one aircraft over the other, complicating scheduling flight training if two students wanted the same plane at the same time. 

The aircraft’s new computerized systems promote greater safety overall, but pilots need to be careful not to be too reliant on the new system. 

“It is more convenient and is different than what I had in the Cessna. In some ways it is easier, but it can baby us a little bit,” said Joseph Angel, senior aviation flight major.

Aside from the new Archer aircraft, CBU also purchased Piper Seminole aircraft that have two engines for multi-engine training and a new flight simulator that almost perfectly simulates flying in the Piper Archer. This makes it even easier for pilots to get their needed flight time to graduate.

CBU continues to expand all of its programs with improved technology. This new technology for the aviation flight students will help ensure that CBU produces excellent aviators.

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