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New plane for a growing S.D.S.U. aviation program

New plane for a growing S.D.S.U. aviation program
Published: Apr. 21, 2022 at 6:29 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Thanks to the 2022 top Hawk program, SDSU is now one of just 5 aviation programs to have a new custom-branded Skyhawk aircraft sitting in their hangar.

Shelbe Jarrett a graduate assistant for South Dakota State University’s aviation program took the new plane wheels up Thursday.

“I just love being up there and it’s just a feeling of freedom when the wheels leave the runway,” Jarrett said.

When Jarrett first went to college she had no intentions of ever being a pilot.

“I think a lot of students don’t realize, like me, how attainable becoming a pilot can actually be,” Jarrett said.

Devin Bastemeyer is the manager of flight operations for the program.

“It’s kind of a unique experience to be able to train young pilots and see them progress,” Bastemeyer said.

The hope is this new addition will help the program grow.

“We’re going to take it out to different events throughout South Dakota just so that students and other people know that S.D.S.U. has an aviation program here,” Bastemeyer said.

The aviation industry as a whole is in need of these students.

“Not just the commercial aviation, but corporate aviation, cargo, you name it, everybody is just looking for pilots,” Jarrett said.

Having this new plane in their arsenal at the Brookings regional airport means that students will get to work with some of the best equipment for years to come.

“This is definitely going to go down as one of the coolest things I’ve done in my career. Getting to have keys to a brand new aircraft with five hours on it. It’s pretty special,” Jarrett said.

Over the past five years, S.D.S.U’s aviation program has grown from just over 50 students to more than 180.

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