WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University professional flight students are receiving a $795 reduction in semester fees as a direct result of an updated aircraft usage plan. The new fee structure is expected to save the university’s students $250,000 over the next two academic years.
John Mott, associate head for aviation technology, assembled a team of Purdue researchers to collect real-time data on the university’s fleet of Cirrus SR-20 aircraft. The team included Darcy Bullock, director of Purdue’s Joint Transportation Research Program, and civil engineering graduate student Maggie McNamara.
Last year, the researchers developed a method to collect data from the fleet’s aircraft transponders. The data identified efficiencies that would allow better usage of the 16 planes.
Now, the fleet can accommodate 71 students in flight courses — up from 55. Increased enrollment lowers the program’s overall costs, university officials explain.
The plan will be extended to three additional classes. The combined savings to students will be $250,000 over the next two academic years.
Mott also is working with the Purdue Research Foundation to file a patent on the data collection and fleet management system. The plan to commercialize the system will assist other organizations in identifying cost savings, he noted.
“I am delighted to see this rapid implementation that will result in real savings for our students this fall. An added bonus is the initiative by the researchers to commercialize this technology so that other flight programs around the country can identify efficiency improvement opportunities and capitalize on them in order to improve the affordability of their respective programs,” said John Wensveen, head of aviation technology.