Top Hawk: Textron Partners with Aviation Universities, Students

At Sun 'n Fun Textron Aviation and an impressive list of university partners launched the Top Hawk program to pair up universities with quality flight training programs with new Skyhawks.

Under Top Hawk, Textron will team with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Kansas State University, Liberty University and the University of North Dakota.

Through the end of 2015, each university will get the use of a brand new Cessna Skyhawk for conducting flight training, outreach and recruiting. "It's critical to the aviation industry to encourage young people to consider careers in aviation as pilots, technicians and administrators, and to train them in the best possible equipment as the foundation of the their career," said Doug May, Textron's head of piston aircraft.

Each of the universities will also nominate one student to participate in a summer internship program at Textron in cooperation with the company's flying club to learn the ropes of flight instruction, aviation business management and more, leading up to a flying competition in which one of the students will get the title of "Top Hawk."

Not coincidentally, each of the four schools has a longstanding relationship with Cessna, which Textron clearly wants to continue to foster as new and refurbished trainers arrive on the scene and create competition for the legendary 172. The benefits to the lucky students who get to participate is simply icing on the cake. Look for our report later this year for which student comes out on top.

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