LAKELAND, Fla. — Middle Tennessee State University accepted the first of eight new Diamond Aircraft DA40 XLT single-engine planes at a ceremony Wednesday, March 29, at Sun ’n Fun Aerospace Expo, one of the nation’s largest annual aviation gatherings.
MTSU now has 37 Diamond DA40s in its training fleet of 44 aircraft. Known for their large canopies and distinctive tails, as well as durability, the Toronto-made DA40s have been in MTSU’s fleet since 2003. The rest of the eight will arrive in the next few weeks.
“We’ve been incredibly honored to have partnered with MTSU over the past 20 years,” said Trevor Mustard, Diamond’s head of sales and marketing. “The success of MTSU’s program is evident in its continued growth and expansion.
“We look forward to continuing our collaborative efforts for many years to come.”
Prelis said the eight new Diamond aircraft will allow MTSU to provide more flight opportunities to students.
“And a newer fleet gives our students training experiences in technologically advanced aircraft, which will enhance their career prospects,” he added.
A short video of the presentation ceremony is available below:
The all-composite-body DA40 XLT, powered by a 180-horsepower Lycoming engine, has been the best-selling Diamond Aircraft model by volume over the company’s 40-year history, Mustard said. Sun ’n Fun visitors to the Diamond display got to sit in the cockpit of MTSU aircraft and pose with it for photos.
The Sun ’n Fun visit by Van Patten and Prelis, along with several faculty, flight instructors and students, also included a stop at Piper Aircraft’s display, which featured one of the MTSU aerospace program’s two twin-engine Seminole aircraft. MTSU purchased the pair of Seminoles late last year.
Sun ’n Fun, based at the international airport in Lakeland, Florida, is the first of three major aviation events this summer for MTSU’s aerospace program.
The department is one of the sponsors of the Great Tennessee Air Show in Smyrna, Tennessee, set for June and hosts an annual alumni event at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture, the world’s largest aviation gathering, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in late July.
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