Historically Black Delaware State University has announced a new partnership with the U.S. Army Cadet Command that will result in an expansion of the university’s aviation program into the area of helicopter flight training. The university will be the nation’s first HBCU to offer helicopter flight training.
The first cohort of ROTC helicopter students will begin their training in the fall semester 2023. The U.S. Army will cover the cost of the tuition, books, and related flight lab fees for the ROTC cadets. After the first cohort of ROTC cadets, any student in the university’s aviation program will be eligible to pursue helicopter flight training.
Ascent Aero – an aviation company based in Medford, New Jersey – has been contracted to provide the training at the Delaware Airpark near Cheswold, with the company’s Cabri G2 Helicopters. As part of the agreement, the university will establish several new helicopter pads at the Airpark for takeoff and landing purposes. Similar to the professional pilot training for planes, helicopter trainees will be able to earn certifications for private pilot, instrumentation rating, commercial, and instructor ratings prior to graduation.
The current aviation program at Delaware State University was launched in 1987. After operating with an older fleet of planes during its first 30 years of existence, the State of Delaware provided a $3.4 million grant from its Delaware Higher Education Economic Development Fund for the purchase of 10 new single-engine aircraft. Now the university has a total fleet to 26 aircraft – more than any other HBCU aviation program.