Textron Aviation Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT) company, today at the annual Sun ‘n Fun International Fly-in and Exhibition launched Top Hawk, a partnership with U.S. university aviation schools. Top Hawk will provide students access to industry-leading aircraft, coupled with a unique internship opportunity during the summer of 2015. Universities selected as the initial partner schools are, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Kansas State University, Liberty University and the University of North Dakota.
Through Top Hawk, Cessna will provide partner schools full use of a branded Cessna Skyhawk 172 aircraft for the remainder of 2015. Partner schools will use the aircraft for flight training, recruiting and promotional activities. In addition, one student from each school will participate in Textron Aviation’s internship program in cooperation with the Textron Aviation Employees Flying Club. During the summer internship, students will get exposure to business operations, lead ground school classes, and continue to build flight hours through flying lessons and discovery flights. At the end of the summer, the interns will participate in a flying competition through which one aviator will be named Top Hawk.
“This is a unique opportunity for the company and the participating universities,” said Doug May, vice president, Piston Aircraft. “Recognized as the worldwide flight trainer of choice, the Skyhawk gives students, and prospective students, the most technologically advanced flight training platform available. We’ve had long relationships with all four university aviation departments. We look forward to deepening those ties through Top Hawk as these schools continue training the next generation of pilots.”
Joining Cessna for the launch of the program were representatives from each participating university. The Embry-Riddle and Liberty branded Skyhawks will be featured throughout the weeklong Sun ‘n Fun event, along with other Beechcraft and Cessna aircraft as part of the Textron Aviation static display.
“It’s critical to the aviation industry to encourage young people to consider careers in aviation, as pilots, technicians and administrators, and to train them in the best possible equipment as the foundation of their career,” May said.
The Skyhawk is the world standard for pilot training and is renowned for offering the best combination of modern features, including the G1000 avionics system, and proven dependability. More Skyhawks have been delivered to customers around the world than any other type of aircraft, with more than 48,000 in service since 1955.