Indiana State University Newsroom

Indiana State University Flight Academy taking off

May 10, 2013

Three Air Force planes landed at Terre Haute International Airport several weeks ago, but it wasn't for a training exercise, nor were they passing through.

The Diamond DA40 planes from the Air Force Academy recently came to the Wabash Valley as the newest additions to the developing Indiana State University Flight Academy, which will be housed at the international airport. The academy is an expansion of Indiana State's aviation technology department, and will include classroom, office and hangar space for the academy. The university also is purchasing modern aircraft, including the Diamond DA40s, to train student pilots as they pursue a bachelor's degree in aviation.

"They're ready for use right now, but we're waiting until we get all the final things completed," said Stephen W. Shure, assistant professor of aviation technology at Indiana State. "We have them in. It's just a matter of getting the building finished where the flight academy is going to be centered."

Indiana State will purchase a dozen Diamond Aircraft planes, which will solely be used for flight instruction. The university will have a variety of aircraft, including a twin engine plane, to train pilots on different technologies.

The university's board of trustees in December gave authority for the university to enter into an agreement with the airport for the new academy. Renovations are ongoing at the former Fed Ex building at the site, with the transformation expected to be finished in time for the academy to be open for classes in the fall.

The ISU Flight Academy will provide students with "standardization, where everybody does the same thing the same way," Shure said. "That's what the military training aviation programs have been doing for many, many years, and that is what we're doing."

The Diamond DA40s are commonly used to train pilots, Shure said. The planes, which Indiana State purchased from the U.S. Air Force Academy, feature glass cockpits, newer instrumentation and other elements found in modern aircraft that Indiana State graduates will fly as professional pilots.

"One of the advantages is we'll have more up to date, better technology, and just a higher level of aircraft that will allow the students to be more current and knowledgeable of state-of-the-art equipment when they graduate," said Bob English, associate dean of the College of Technology at Indiana State. "That's a big advantage in the new academy."

Indiana State was one of the few universities in the nation to have a professional pilot program without its own flight academy. The new academy will allow Indiana State to have greater oversight in curriculum development, along with ensuring that student pilots are receiving training in the most updated technology available.

"They are very enthusiastic about the idea," Shure said of students' response to the new flight academy, "and of course the airport is very happy that we're out there, and that we'll have our academy out at the airport."

"We are pleased with how the Indiana State University Flight Academy is developing. Student pilots will be able to take advantage of many of the changes as soon as they return for coursework this fall," said Bradford Sims, dean of the College of Technology. "The changes taking place will ensure that Indiana State students are well-equipped with the education and experience necessary to become successful aviation professionals."

Photo: (ISU/Tony Campbell)Indiana State University recently purchased three Diamond DA40s as the newest additions to the ISU Flight Academy that is currently being developed. The Diamond DA40, which Indiana State graduate Kay Brown and professor Melanie Abel flew in the Air Race Classic in 2011, features a modern cockpit and technology that makes it a preferred choice to train aspiring pilots.

Photo: (ISU/Tony Campbell)A Diamond DA40, similar to the three aircraft that Indiana State University recently purchased for the new ISU Flight Academy, which will start operating at the Terre Haute International Airport this fall.

Photo: (Photo courtesy of Diamond Aircraft)The cockpit of a Diamond DA40. More information about the planes can be found at

Contact: Stephen W. Shure, assistant professor of aviation technology, College of Technology, Indiana State University, 812-237-2663 or

Writer: Austin Arceo, assistant director of media relations, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or