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K-State Today

June 22, 2012

Cirrus-ly helpful: Four K-State Salina pilot students receive training in advanced aircraft

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

An offer from a generous donor sent four Kansas State University Salina students soaring in an aircraft they hadn't flown before when Jan Burton loaned them her Cirrus SR-22 and a flight instructor.

Burton is the Connor Burton Aviation Foundation's chief advocate. The foundation subsidizes student flying time, attendance at flying competitions and air races, a speaker series and supports other flying activities at K-State Salina intended to upgrade students' experience and improve their pilot capabilities. The foundation has donated than $250,000 to the university's aviation program since 2008 to support these initiatives.

Robbie Moon, chief pilot for Burton's company, is a 2009 graduate of K-State Salina's aviation program and a certified flight instructor. He provided the students' ground school on the aircraft's advanced systems before they gained approximately 15 hours of experience in the cockpit, flying to various locations in the region such as Goodland, Emporia, Kansas City and Dallas.

"We flew into Class B airspace, which is really busy, and we flew into uncontrolled airspace where there is no air traffic control tower -- you just talk on the radio to the other pilots. "I also logged my first Class A airspace, which is the airspace above 18,000 feet," said Tonya Hodson, junior in professional pilot, Marion.

"Flying the Cirrus was a great way to get experience in an increased performance aircraft," said Jonathan Berroa, senior in professional pilot, Avon, Ind. "Students usually don't get into icing programs until later in the program, but we got taste of icing conditions when we were flying at high altitudes."

"The autopilot system in the Cirrus is more advanced than the systems in K-State's smaller aircraft and the Garmin Perspective glass cockpit is the next system after the G1000 systems that we use," said Juan Guardado, senior in professional pilot, Irving, Texas.

"We went through the systems and the emergency procedures, so we also learned about the oxygen and parachute systems. By the end of training I was pretty proficient at programming the flight plan using the plane's flight management system," Guardado said.

"It was nice to fly the Cirrus and learn its systems because it's a popular general aviation plane, so it's likely I'll fly one in the future," said Trevor Henson, junior in airport management, Peoria, Ill. "It also makes a person a better pilot when they are given the chance to fly a variety of different airplanes."

More information about the Connor Burton Aviation Foundation is available at http://burtonaviationfoundation.org.

K-State is an elite, top five aviation university. Located on the Salina campus and adjacent to a 12,000-foot runway, the aviation program has a modern fleet of nearly 50 learning aircraft and offers instruction by Master Certified Flight Instructors. Affordable bachelor's degree programs are available in professional pilot, aircraft maintenance, air traffic control, airport management, avionics and unmanned aircraft systems, as well as technology management and engineering technology. An airframe and powerplant certificate program is also available. More information on the K-State Salina aviation program is available at http://www.salina.k-state.edu/aviation.