Kent State Aeronautics Unveils 2016 Top Hawk Plane

Kent State Aeronautics Unveils 2016 Top Hawk Plane

Nikki, the Top Hawk Cessna aircraft, was revealed Feb. 23 at the Kent State University Airport to students, alumni and friends of Kent State University’s Aeronautics Program, and to family members of the plane’s namesake. Nikki joins the university’s fleet of 33 training planes.

Kent State was named a 2016 Top Hawk university, one of only four universities nationwide to receive the honor. Each school was awarded a Cessna Skyhawk to use for one year. 



In addition to supporting typical flight training operations, the Top Hawk aircraft will:

  • Be flown by three of Kent State’s female pilots as they participate in the 2016 Air Race Classic
  • Will be used in the conduct of outreach events in at least 15 states represented by Kent State flight instructors and students
  • Provide exploration flights for each of the Aeronautics Program’s summer aviation education camps
  • Will be featured at the 2016 EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin

Follow #NikkiTheTopHawk on Twitter as she travels the country in 2016 promoting careers in aeronautics.

The aircraft has been named Nikki in celebration of the life of Nicole “Nikki” Kukwa, a Kent State aeronautics student from North Royalton, Ohio, who died on Oct. 23, 2006, after receiving a leukemia diagnosis during her junior year at Kent State.

“Nikki was instrumental in establishing Kent State’s Women in Aeronautics Club, was an exemplary student and served as an inspiration to those who knew her,” said Robert Sines, interim dean of Kent State’s College of Applied Engineering, Sustainability and Technology. “A three-day, girl’s aeronautics camp takes place annually in her honor showing her continued, positive influence in aeronautics.”

Learn more about Cessna’s Top Hawk programDiscover Kent State’s Aeronautics Program

POSTED: Monday, February 29, 2016 08:23 AM
Updated: Sunday, January 29, 2023 09:36 PM
Jessica Tremayne-Farkas