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.
“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.