Embry-Riddle Added 17 Aircraft To Fleet in 2020, More Planned for ’21


Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University continues to grow and with it comes demand for new aircraft for training. According to the school, it has added some 17 new aircraft since March 2020, and has placed orders for 19 additional Cessna Skyhawks with Garmin’s G1000 NXI avionics, which would, with the normal turnover of aircraft, make ERAU’s entire fleet Technically Advanced Aircraft (TAA). This year, in addition to buying 13 new 172s, ERAU added four Diamond DA42 Twin Stars, with the bulk of them deployed to ERAU’s Prescott, Arizona, campus. Prescott now has 45 aircraft, while the Daytona Beach, Florida, campus has 74, mostly 172s.

The investment in new aircraft follows increased enrollment. According to the school, its Fall 2020 incoming class, some 859 strong at Prescott alone, is the “largest incoming class in history.” The Daytona campus saw 1,731 new students, its second-highest enrollment spike ever. Between the two campuses, ERAU has more than 10,000 undergrad and graduate students, also a record.

With the new acquisitions and normal turnover, all of ERAU’s training aircraft will be TAA in 2021.

“Our current planning horizon is to grow to 1,200 flight students within five years,” said Parker Northrup, Flight Department chair on the Prescott Campus. “Our primary goal with fleet replenishment is to provide sustained availability for student use.” And ensuring that its single- and multi-engine fleet are all TAA was important to ERAU. “We want to ensure that our students fly the most up-to-date aircraft with the most up-to-date avionics in the industry, so they are fully prepared for transition to modern commercial aircraft,” Northrup said.

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KITPLANES Editor in Chief Marc Cook has been in aviation journalism for more than 30 years. He is a 4000-hour instrument-rated, multi-engine pilot with experience in nearly 150 types. He’s completed two kit aircraft, an Aero Designs Pulsar XP and a Glasair Sportsman 2+2, and currently flies a 2002 GlaStar.

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  1. 74 airplanes !! THIS is the reason I removed MY C-172 from an airport near Daytona Beach and took it to my summer home operating location in rural Wisconsin giving up flying in Florida. Everywhere you go, there’s nothing but “Echo Romeo’s” flying around like mosquitos. They are literally everywhere around KDAB. They have every right to the sky but … dodging ’em ain’t for me so I don’t fly near Daytona Beach any longer.

    • Larry: you ought live where I do in the Florida panhandle where I’m exposed to Navy Whiting Field, over 600 flight ops daily, a contract flight school at Milton, Eglin AFB with night ops regular and numerous flight ops daily. Aviation has changed in 50 years wherein back in the 60’s you could fly anywhere in the US at 500 feet agl; hence ADS-B. If you’re uncomfortable with Daytona I suggest that you evaluate your flying skills.

      • Richard … I’m well aware of how busy ALL of Florida is w/ flight training, higher level airspace, lots of airplanes and the like. I spent time at Eglin AFB. I didn’t mention it but I thought it.

        After >50 years of ‘doing it,’ MY mission these days is recreational, not dodging epaulet wearing kids that’re 10′ tall and bullet proof while practicing talking warp speed like a 747 Captain in some language or dialect I don’t recognize. For me, the final straw came when I was taxiing back from a runway and saw an echo romeo airplane pull onto an active runway right in front of a friend on very short final after he had just made multiple radio call outs TO that airplane. Only quick reactions to go around by my friend averted disaster. And that was a week after one of ’em in a multi tried to kill my wife and I in the same pattern. (Both errant airplanes had two people in ’em, too). Chasing cows at 500′ in rural WI on the way to a $200 hamburger in the north woods is so much more enjoyable to me in my sunset years of aviating than playing Russian roulette w/ airplanes. I’ll leave KDAB to the TAA crowd. Now toss in the kneeling in a picture provided as PR for the school claiming status as the pre-eminent place for such things and … I’ve lost ALL respect for the place.

    • Sometimes — these days — I wonder why I served a full career in the US military. That these kids are kneeling tells me EVERYTHING I’d need to know both about them and ERAU allowing it. IF I had kids enrolled there, I’d yank them out of that school so fast they’d need a chiropractor to fix their neck muscles.

    • The damnable thing is that they fail to see that they are in an actual photograph of the diversity and tolerance and possibilities for all Americans. I don’t think they realize just how foolish that makes them look to rational people.

  2. I always thought the classic fighter pilot photo was a guy on one knee with his helmet balanced across his knee in front of his airplane.

    I don’t get the outrage, I think it is just a bunch of young people trying to look cool, which is, I admit, a bit hard when your back drop is a buck seventy two not, 30,000 pounds of kick ass…

  3. I’d be interested to see the safety records comparing their fleet of 172’s to their DA42’s. I bet they hid it from parents because I suspect that the historic trend of more dangerous twins has flipped. Would be wonderful if these guys would do something for aviation and tell Cessna to update their antiques or stop making sales calls. Of course, that might hurt their budgets, so ain’t likely to happen.

  4. I must admit I also puzzled a bit as to the kneeling pose, but I did not experience the outrage that seems to have been stirred in other readers. Mostly because I have no idea WHY they decided on that pose. So it’s hard to get my nickers in a twist over something that may only exist in my own mind.

  5. For the few of you who have read something into the “kneeling” pose for this photo, I reached out to ERAU’s communication department. Here’s what I found out from Jason Kadah. “The photographer (me) is all of 5’8″ on a good day… If I had everyone stand, they would have blocked the aircraft and the mountain behind it, which I was trying to highlight.” He also mentioned that it’s school policy to have everyone masked and socially distanced, which further complicates the photo’s composition. Having done enough group photography myself, I accept this explanation. Can we get back to airplanes now?

    • … and the NFL doesn’t play / show the Nat’l Anthem anymore because it takes up too much time, as well. The military teaches you that if it LOOKS bad but isn’t … it still is. All a 5’8″ guy would have to do is get a chair to make himself taller. I don’t believe the explanation.

    • Since they fly shoulder-to-shoulder without masks in closed aircraft, how is “school policy” for aviation students to social distance for the picture? I also seriously doubt that a photographer can’t get 9 student in the same shot as Granite Mountain. The explanation makes even less sense….

  6. Thanks Marc, yes, let’s get back to airplanes. So sick of angry folks like Larry S who have nothing better to do with his time than working on his best Joseph McCarthy impersonation by questioning the patriotism of ERAU based on a photo. Way to go ERAU, congrats on the new aircraft. They look great. Signed, a parent of a prospective student.

  7. Why kneeling? So you can see the airplanes better. And mask wearing is documented as an effective means of preventing the transmission of COVID-19 (hello? Wright Brothers/Aeronautics/Science/avoid disease transmission). It’s just smart.