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Riverside, Calif. (Sept. 24, 2015) – California Baptist University's department of aviation science took off in the fall of 2013, with 25 students and two majors. This fall, it is flying even higher with 70 students and three majors. 

Dr. Daniel Prather, chair of aviation science, said he credits the growth to the faculty and staff, the administration's support and the industry's demand for pilots. 

"I think God has blessed our efforts here," Prather said. "He honors our hard work and commitment and devotion to develop a top-notch collegiate aviation program." 

Growth can be seen in various ways. The CBU Flight School has 11 aircraft used for flight training and 10 flight instructors. More than two years ago FedEx donated a Boeing 727 that is being incorporated into the aircraft systems course for the first time this fall. The school also now has an approved FAA Airman Knowledge Testing Center located in the Flight Operations Center.  

The CBU Flight School also has developed agreements with five regional carriers, including passenger airlines Express Jet, SkyWest and CommutAir, and cargo carriers Empire Airlines and Ameriflight. Three of those agreements were signed this summer. Students who meet certain requirements are guaranteed an interview or, in the case of Express Jet Airlines, a job if the company is hiring at the time. Without such agreements, students are on their own to find a job, Prather said. 

"I tell students, as you graduate, as you move on and enter your career that's a mission field no matter where you are," Prather said.  

Hannah Guajardo, an aviation flight junior and the first student to enroll in the CBU Aviation Science program, said she chose the program because it offered a bachelor's degree in aviation flight.

Guajardo became the first student to earn an instrument rating and the first female in the program to earn a multi-engine rating. 

"It is a huge honor to be a part of the inaugural class. It makes me feel like I was part of the start of something big," she said. 

Michael S. Lloyd ('16) is starting his first year at CBU. He spent 20 years as an aircraft mechanic in the Air Force.

Lloyd said he chose CBU for a number of reasons, including CBU's support of veterans and his desire to remain in the aviation industry.

"The aviation management degree seemed to be a good transition career tool as I prepare for another career in civilian life," Lloyd said. "I looked at a few other colleges, but I really felt CBU is where God wanted me to be."