Six aviation students make first solo at State

The start of the second semester has been a high-flying one for the South Dakota State University Aviation Program. Ten students and one recent graduate have already made their first solo flights or achieved a rating or certificate. Six students recorded their first solo flights as part of the program. They are:

  • Matt Arnold, freshman, Appleton, Minnesota; Feb. 6
  • Alex Bonnema, freshman, Steen, Minnesota, Feb. 6;
  • Ethan Erickson, junior, Larchwood, Iowa, Jan. 15;
  • Wade Hall, freshman, Rapid City, Feb. 5;
  • Tony Reker, junior, Adrian, Minnesota, Feb. 7; and
  • Riley Swenson, freshman, Brandon, Feb. 2.

In addition, several students have received various certificates or ratings: They are:

  • Blake Flowers, a junior from St. Clair, Minnesota, and Elizabeth Hubbard, a sophomore from Spearfish, achieved their instrument pilot certificates in January.
  • Michael Drager, a senior from Mankato, Minnesota, achieved his certified flight instructor instrument rating in February.
  • Zac Frank, a senior from Springfield, achieved his certified flight instructor instrument rating in January. He is working as a flight instructor at State.
  • Chris Brandes, a 2014 State graduate from Colton, is working as a flight instructor at State after receiving
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    his certified flight instructor instrument rating in January.

In addition, Tyler Kludt, a 2014 graduate from Viborg, passed his flight medical requirements for a slot with the South Dakota Air National Guard to fly a KC-135 Stratotanker. There are 35 actively flying students in the SDSU aviation program, which has its own facility at the Brookings Regional Airport. In fall 2013, SDSU became one of the nation’s first programs to have graduates eligible for the Federal Aviation Administration’s Restricted-Airline Transport Pilot certificate.p24-SDSU-Aviation2-copy

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