Kent State Planes Are Back in the Air

Kent State Planes Are Back in the Air

Today, the College of Aeronautics and Engineering received approval from the university to restart flight operations, making May 22 the first day since mid-March that instructors or students have been permitted to fly due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

fedex building
Following guidance to protect students, instructors and staff, Kent State aircraft will resume flight operations implementing a phased approach beginning with instructor currency and then completing checkrides that were in progress when the shutdown began. Operations will increase throughout the summer to ensure current students are on track from spring semester and the college is prepared for the new class of professional flight students in the fall.

“Regular airport support operations will resume May 26, so we’ll see an increase in daily flights over the next few weeks from as few as four to six up to 30-40 per day,” said Robert Kraus, Ph.D., associate dean of flight and operations. “The first students will return as early as Wednesday, May 27. We’re beginning with the students who were ready for their checkrides when flying stopped in March. Following that, we’ll bring back our graduating seniors and those commissioning as officers in the military to complete their training. As the number of daily flights increases, we will continue to add students.” 

Brian Neff, the director of flight training and operations, informed current students that flight operations are resuming. The news was met with much enthusiasm considering the abruptness in which COVID-19 made an impact. 

The college has added and increased time between each flight to allow for proper sanitizing of the aircraft before and after aircraft use.

“First and foremost, the health and safety of our students, instructors and staff is paramount,” Kraus said. “We’re starting with required training modules that describe new procedures such as daily health assessments, limiting the number of people in the FedEx Academic Center, scheduling flights to avoid contact between different teams of instructors and students, and requiring face masks at all times as practical.”

The college has designed protocols in the event someone shows symptoms of the virus or other sickness are also in place.

“Returning to flight puts our professional pilot students back on track to achieving their dreams of becoming aviators,” Kraus said. “Despite the temporary setback of COVID-19, we expect the airline
industry to recover and our students will have long and fulfilling careers transporting passengers and cargo around the world.”

POSTED: Thursday, May 21, 2020 - 3:22pm
UPDATED: Friday, May 22, 2020 - 5:09pm
College of Aeronautics and Engineering