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RIVERSIDE, Calif. (Feb. 4, 2015) -- Two California Baptist University students gained a real-life experience last month by piloting two recently purchased aircraft from east Texas to California.

The students, accompanied by two flight instructors from the department of aviation science, flew the twin-engine 1979 Beechcraft Duchesses from Gilmer, Texas, to the Riverside Municipal Airport. The trip took more than 11 hours over a period of two days.

The students, junior Jennifer Endeman and sophomore Howard Dang, both aviation flight majors, did the preflight check, the flight plan and the flying. The instructors, Shannon Cardin and Jared Tapsfield, ensured the students did those things correctly. Cardin said he rarely touched the controls unless his student needed to get water.

The group stopped at several airports along the way, including an overnight stop in El Paso, Texas.

"This trip not only gave me an opportunity to build more flight hours but also helped me gain more confidence as a private pilot," Dang said. "I got to land and takeoff at many different types of airports, both towered and non-towered airports. This also gave me a chance to see how each airport operates different than the others."

Both the flight instructors said it was great experience for the students

"I think the most that both of the students gained was to be ready for anything," Tapsfield said. "If something were to go wrong, even though nothing did, they needed to know where the closest airport was and how to get there as quickly as possible. It's something students don't always think about when flying around Southern California, because there are airports everywhere. In the middle of Texas and New Mexico, things are very different. Planning is key and a backup plan is always needed as well."

Dang also said the trip gave him a good look at the industry.

"This long trip gave me a better exposure to see what today's aviation industry is really like," he said. "The majority of airline flights today would take long hours to get from one destination to the next, thus this trip gave me a feel for what it is like to be in the airline industry."

The department of aviation science now has 10 aircraft: five Cessna 172s, two Cessna 150s and three Beechcraft Duchesses.

"The twin-engine aircraft always bring a new element into a program. They're larger aircraft, they're more complex aircraft, said Dr. Daniel Prather, chair of the department of aviation science. "It always takes a program up to a next level, away from just Cessnas and single-engine Cessnas. But not only that, it allows us to handle a significant number of students working on their multi-engine rating."