Rockford AirFest to feature new Embry-Riddle aircraft
– Premier aeronautical university partners with air show
Online Staff Report
ROCKFORD, Ill. – Rockford AirFest 2011 will feature a brand-new Cessna 162 Skycatcher and other involvement from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s premier aviation and aeronautical university.
Rockford AirFest is June 4 and 5 at Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD).
ERAU will have an informational display about its Worldwide Campus at RFD, along with the Cessna 162. ERAU will also celebrate the first graduate of its Rockford campus. ERAU also sponsors Matt Chapman Airshows, one of the many performers at Rockford AirFest.
“Embry-Riddle has been a great partner for the airport, and is now a great partner for AirFest,” said Bharat Puri, chairman of the Greater Rockford Airport Authority. “It’s great to be able to show off both a brand-new aircraft and a premier university.”
The Skycatcher is a state-of-the-art training aircraft, and ERAU got four of the first produced. This aircraft will be used for ERAU’s collegiate flight teams at its Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., campuses. Students recently flew this specific plane in the National Intercollegiate Flying Association’s Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference competition.
“It is the newest, the latest and the greatest two-place trainer that is being made today,” said Ken Dufour, an ERAU trustee who lives in Rockford. “It says that we’re the premier training school in the world and Cessna got them to us first.”
ERAU offers several associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the Rockford campus. Like other Worldwide campuses, the Rockford one offers classes in person, through teleconferencing and online, geared for professional adults furthering their education.
Friday, June 3, ERAU Rockford will celebrate its first graduate. Zach Sundquist, air service analyst and administrative assistant for RFD, receives his Master of Aeronautical Science degree during Rockford AirFest’s VIP Party Friday evening. Sundquist, a Columbus, Ohio, native, has worked at RFD for nearly seven years. While other students have finished their degrees through the Rockford campus, Sundquist is the first to complete all coursework for a degree here.
“I long dreamed of bringing a Worldwide campus to Rockford, and to personally give its first graduate a diploma,” said Dufour. “It’s been a pleasure to watch Zach complete his coursework while working a full-time job at RFD. I look forward to many other students following in his footsteps.”
Prospective students can learn more about ERAU at its booth or online at erau.edu/rockford.
ERAU is one of many organizations that will have displays at Rockford AirFest. Military, educational and community groups will be here, as well as NASA, The Discovery Center and a variety of children’s activities.
Rockford AirFest will also feature a full slate of military and civilian performers, including two military jet demonstrations, the U.S. Golden Knights Parachute Team and a rare performance by the U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon. There will be approximately 60 military and civilian aircraft on display, with about a dozen open for tours.
Advance tickets for Rockford AirFest 2011 are on sale for $10 per adult and $5 for youth 5-12. Kids 4 and under get in for free. Tickets are available only at FlyRFD.com, at the RFD terminal and at Rockford-area Culver’s and Riverside Community Bank locations.
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