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DSU dedicates first of 10 new planes

Nick Ciolino / Delaware Public Media

Delaware State University is getting its new airplanes. University officials held a dedication ceremony this week for the first of 10 Vulcanair V1.0 single-engine planes set to be delivered to the University.

DSU announced the purchase of the planes earlier this year after receiving a $3.4 million competitive grant from the state. 

Christian Black is a sophomore in DSU’s Aviation program. He says the all glass touch screen cockpit in the Vulcanair is easier to use than the knobs and switches of the 1970s Piper Warriors the new planes are set to replace.

“It’s more safe. It has a better user interface,” said Black. “So it’s not as hard to hit buttons or anything. It’s basically I touch this here, something is going to pop up, I type in a number and that’s how it is.” 

United Airlines Captain and United States Airforce Reserves Major William “CJ” Charlton graduated from the DSU Aviation program. At the ceremony, he made a $10,000 pledge to the program.

“Now that this university has not only demonstrated their commitment to aviation in what they’ve done as far as the department chair, and the foundation and the provost, but also buying these airplanes and putting them out there, it changed the narrative to where I as an alumnus know that I’ve got to give them my money,” said Charlton.

University officials say expanding this program will help fulfill a national shortage of pilots. WWII Veteran Tuskegee Airman and DSU graduate Nathan Thomas agrees.

“We’re going to get more pilots that are going to fly from this education,” said Thomas. “And we’re going to get more help to our country to bring up the shortage [of pilots] that we are needing.”

DSU plans to expand its fleet to 20 planes by 2028.

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