California Aeronautical University Expands Training Fleet With Skyhawk Buy

The flight school will begin receiving 15 new Cessna Skyhawks from Textron in 2027.

California Aeronautical University is buying 15 Cessna Skyhawks, it announced. [Courtesy: California Aeronautical University]

Textron Aviation, the parent company of Cessna Aircraft, has announced an agreement to supply California Aeronautical University (CAU) with 15 Cessna Skyhawks, with first deliveries beginning in 2027.

“We couldn't be more thrilled to announce this acquisition of Cessna Skyhawks, which marks a significant milestone in our commitment to providing top-tier aviation education,” said Matthew Johnston, president of CAU. “These new aircraft will help elevate our flight training degree programs, ensuring our students receive the best possible learning experience and preparing them for successful careers in the aviation industry.”

According to school officials, the aircraft will be utilized at their locations in Bakersfield, San Diego, and Ventura, California, as well as in Mesa, Arizona.

The new aircraft will add to CAU's current fleet of Skyhawks and Beechcraft Barons. School officials say the flight program continues to grow, and the aircraft are necessary to help maintain an "optimal student-to-aircraft ratio at the university."

Backbone of Training Fleet

Designed in the 1950s, the Cessna Skyhawk, also known as the C-172, has been the backbone of the training fleet for more than 60 years. It's difficult, almost impossible, to find a pilot who hasn't logged time in a Skyhawk. The design began with a round-dial panel, manual flaps, and straight tail. Today it features the shark-fin tail and a full-glass panel sporting Garmin G1000 NXi avionics with wireless connectivity, standard angle-of-attack display system, and proven dependability. The aircraft is equipped with a McCauley aluminum fixed-pitch propeller and a 180 hp Lycoming IO-360-L2A engine.

According to Textron, more than 45,000 Skyhawks have been delivered around the world.

“For more than six decades, the Skyhawk has been at the forefront of innovation, empowering aspiring pilots and setting new standards in flight training,” said Chris Crow, vice president of Textron Aviation piston sales. “We are delighted to continue inspiring the journey of flight by providing California Aeronautical University students access to the most-produced, single-engine aircraft globally.”

Meg Godlewski has been an aviation journalist for more than 24 years and a CFI for more than 20 years. If she is not flying or teaching aviation, she is writing about it. Meg is a founding member of the Pilot Proficiency Center at EAA AirVenture and excels at the application of simulation technology to flatten the learning curve. Follow Meg on Twitter @2Lewski.

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