...As University Welcomes Cirrus Training Fleet

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Of course, losing a single sale to your home state is a lot easier to take when the rest of the world can't seem to get enough of your airplane and some customers buy them by the dozen. Western Michigan University's College of Aviation was so excited about the arrival of the first of its 30 SR20s and SR22s it invited the local media to share in the oohs and aahs. "Everybody in the college has been buzzing about it," senior Brian Swintal told the Kalamazoo Gazette. That buzz was undoubtedly heard in Wichita, since the Cirrus aircraft are replacing a fleet of 39 Cessna 172s. University officials claim they'll break even in the complex $40 million, 10-year lease arrangement that the Gazette said will bring them brand-new airplanes every two years. Proceeds from the sale of the 172s, tapping reserves, and the maintenance savings afforded by flying new airplanes should cover the lease payments, university officials told the newspaper. Instructor Brian Herm said the real benefit will be to students, who get to learn how to fly with all the latest glass gizmos. "This is really going to prepare students for their life outside of Western," he said.