MTSU students and certified flight instructors Ryan Patterson, front, and Cole Ferraro and Copher Kashif
fly in the newest additions to the MTSU fleet of Diamond Aircraft from the Canadian factory to Murfreesboro Airport on Friday, June 19. Diamond flew four new planes to Murfreesboro in April. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

 

Middle Tennessee State University’s Department of Aerospace recently received delivery of six new Diamond Aircraft 2020 DA 40 XLT airplanes to its student training fleet and the Austria-based manufacturer also refurbished 13 aircraft in the university’s existing fleet.

The final two new planes arrived Friday, June 19. Diamond imported them to the U.S./Canadian border and university officials picked them up near Detroit, Michigan. MTSU received the first four planes from Diamond in April.

MTSU, a Diamond customer since the early 2000s, and the company made a joint announcement of the purchase of the new planes and refurbishing of more than half of the current fleet. MTSU utilizes 27 Diamond planes for training student pilots.

The six new planes and 13 refurbished planes cost a combined $3,586,330.

“We have been experiencing record growth (of professional pilot majors) prior to COVID-19,” said Nick Lenczycki, MTSU Flight Operations Centerprogram manager, citing the need for additional student training planes. “As a result, we have been adding aircraft for the last few years.”

MTSU’s Department of Aerospace has grown into one of the most respected aerospace programs in the nation. Seventeen full-time faculty members, 75 flight instructors, and around 1,000 majors place it among the largest of the nation’s collegiate aviation programs.

Following the arrival of the first four planes, Lenczycki said students “were able to fly them as soon as we reopened from our COVID-19 shutdown.”

The two newest additions will soon be available for students’ training use.

Regarding the refurbishing of 13 aircraft by its factory service center, the Diamond announcement said since the airframes (airplane bodies) do not have a life limit, the company is revamping the interior, updating some avionics options and painting and restriping the old aircraft to look as good as new.

“The 13 aircraft are mid-life aircraft, so to keep them looking great we sent them back to the factory to be returned in like-new condition,” Lenczycki said. “Six of these aircraft also had an avionics upgrade that resulted in a more standardized training fleet — a better experience for our students.”

MTSU senior and certified flight instructor Jesse Rigsby and junior aerospace professional pilot major McKayla Petty perform maintenance and check off their list after flying a new Diamond Aircraft back to Murfreesboro Airport Friday, June 19. Two new planes and a refurbished aircraft flew in late in the day. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

 

About MTSU/MTSU Aerospace – A comprehensive, innovative university, MTSU attracts students to more than 300 distinctive bachelor’s, master’s, specialist and doctoral programs that prepare graduates to thrive in their chosen professions and a changing global society. MTSU’s Department of Aerospace has grown into one of the most respected aerospace programs in the nation. Seventeen full-time faculty members, 75 flight instructors, and around 1,000 majors place it among the largest of the nation’s collegiate aviation programs.