CSU student completes first solo flight under new aviation program

CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) – A Charleston Southern University student made history this week by becoming the college’s first aviation student to perform a solo flight.

Harrison Hunt took to the skies in a Diamond DA-20 aircraft, which he called a “next-level” liberating experience.

“I was a little anxious at first because I knew I would be on my own without an instructor as a safety net,” he said. “But the sense of accomplishment and knowing that I had taken a giant leap to be a pilot has largely overshadowed it.”

The college said Hunt has dreamed of being a pilot for as long as he can remember. The second year of CSU changed its major to engineering aeronautics during the first year.

“Initially, I had planned to be an engineer to pay for a flight school and later become a pilot, but when CSU announced the aviation program, I knew I couldn’t let this chance slip through my fingers.” , did he declare.

Charleston South announced in August of last year that it would begin offering a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics in fall 2021 and began offering a three credit aeronautics course – Introduction to Pilot Training – Fall latest.

Students who enroll in the program can choose between three main avenues to become a commercial pilot: commercial aviation, military, or missionary.

US Air Force Col. Christopher “CJ” Will (retired) is the founding chair of the new CSU Department of Aeronautics, located within the College of Science and Mathematics.

Col. Will said a typical student would go solo after 10 to 12 hours of training on the plane, depending on progress through the training program. But some can play solo in as little as eight hours.

Charleston Southern University is partnering with CRAFT Flight Training and Simulation to provide FAA-approved simulators for flight instruction.

In the video recorded by Hunt of the first solo flight, you may not be able to distinguish the real from the simulated experience. Colonel Will said the new simulators are just realistic.

“I love her opening narration, ‘Let’s go!’ Colonel Will said of the recording. “Harrison is an exceptional student and is also doing very well in the CSU Air Force ROTC program.”

Two students are now flying in the summer session; however, a full cohort begins this fall with over 30 students expected in the inaugural class.

Colonel Will said the requests far exceeded expectations.

The CSU Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics (Commercial Pilot) officially begins this fall and is the only college program in the state of South Carolina.

Will is looking to expand the CSU program and expects the first diverse group of professional pilots to graduate from the program in 2025.

Students in the Professional Flying Program will complete semester flight training at Summerville or Charleston International Airports aboard safe and modern Diamond aircraft.

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