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Southern Illinois University alumni fund ADS-BSouthern Illinois University alumni fund ADS-B

University matches donations to meet FAA mandateUniversity matches donations to meet FAA mandate

Alumni of the aviation program at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale pledged $250,000 to help install Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) hardware in the university’s fleet of 36 aircraft.

Cessna Skyhawks taxi to the Southern Illinois University Carbondale flight line after landing at Southern Illinois Airport in Carbondale/Murphysboro, Illinois. Donations from alumni are helping to equip the university's fleet with ADS-B equipment in advance of the FAA mandate. Photo courtesy of Southern Illinois University.

The flight program went to the university’s chancellor for help with funding to meet the approaching ADS-B Out mandate, said Michael Burgener, interim chair of the Department of Aviation Management and Flight and chair of the Department of Aviation Technologies. The FAA has mandated ADS-B Out equipage for flights after Jan. 1, 2020, in airspace where a transponder is required today. The university administration agreed to match, dollar for dollar, any donations up to $300,000, he explained.

“We are very grateful to our alumni for coming through for us once again, as they always do,” Burgener said. “Last month we hosted a donor appreciation reception/dinner for all the donors for the ADS-B project. Some donors were generous enough that they had naming rights to an aircraft. We had the reception in the hangar so we could do the ‘unveiling’ of the aircraft that were named. It was a good night.”

Burgener said SIU’s Garmin G1000-equipped Cessna 172s are receiving Garmin ADS-B hardware, while its older Cessna 172s and Cessna 152s are being equipped with FreeFlight Systems universal access transceivers (UATs). SIU’s Cessna multiengine trainers probably will get ADS-B In and Out capabilities from dual-datalink Garmin GDL 88 UATs; he said equipage of the twins is still being decided, and that they may receive additional upgrades, with Garmin G500 dual-screen electronic flight displays and new autopilots being considered.

The installations are being outsourced, he added. Fifteen aircraft have been completed.

In addition, the university is preparing to take delivery of three new Piper Arrows for commercial pilot certification and certificated flight instructor training. The new Pipers will come with Garmin panels and ADS-B already installed, and will replace Cessna 172RG and Cessna 182RG aircraft manufactured in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The university also named three airplanes in honor of notable contributions to its aviation degree program.

Joseph Messina II influenced a love of flying in his son, Joseph Messina III, and he founded the Air Explorers in 1970 to help young people interested in aviation. The program awards a Joseph A. Messina III Aviation Explorers Scholarship for Aviation Students annually. Capt. Joseph Messina III, who earned his bachelor’s degree in aviation maintenance technology in 1976, is a pilot for Delta Air Lines.

Gregory N. Cook attended SIU Carbondale from 1977 to 1979, majoring in aviation technology and business administration, and has served on the SIU Foundation Board of Directors since 2006. Cook flies as a volunteer pilot for SIU, the Veterans Airlift Command, the Citation Special Olympics Airlift, and the Corporate Angel Network. The same SIU airplane also honors the nine-time National Intercollegiate Flying Association champion Flying Salukis; the team has finished in the top three nationally for seven straight years and holds nine national titles.

The late Paul D. Sarvela served SIU and the university system for 28 years, including as interim chancellor. A tenured professor of health education and clinical professor of family and community medicine, Sarvela served as dean of the College of Applied Sciences and Arts for six years before becoming the university system’s vice president for academic affairs.

Cessna 172s in the Southern Illinois University Carbondale fleet line the university's ramp at Southern Illinois Airport in Carbondale/Murphysboro, Illinois. Alumni donations are helping to equip the university's fleet with ADS-B hardware in advance of the FAA mandate. Photo courtesy of Southern Illinois University.
Mike Collins

Mike Collins

Technical Editor
Mike Collins has worked for AOPA’s media network since 1994. He holds a private pilot certificate with an instrument rating.
Topics: Avionics, ADSB

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