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Sun, Oct 30, 2005

Utah State Looks To Beef Up Aviation Program

New Aviation Director Has Big Plans

He's only been on the job for seven weeks, but already, Utah State University's director of aviation, Richard Charles, is already flying ambitiously high.

Charles most recently taught at Georgia State University in Atlanta. He spent five years in the Air Force and has also worked in commercial and business aviation positions.

"He had the right combination of both experience in aviation and in leadership," Maurice Thomas, associate dean at Utah State's College of Engineering, told the Utah Statesman. "We really needed to give the program a little more identity, so one of the ways we did that was to hire a full-time director."

Charles said he has some big changes planned at Utah State, all aimed at making the school a much more aviation-friendly environment.

He told student reporters he plans to update the school's fleet of 20 aircraft -- not by raising student flight fees, but through fundraisers and other activities.

"Probably the most important objective I have is to re-orient this program from simply being a place where we train pilots and mechanics to a scholarly, academic research-based program," Charles told the Statesman.

FMI: www.usu.edu

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