Jeremy King, left, and Greg Denbo, right, show the SIU aviation shop’s recently painted “S I U” on the underside wings of two planes used by students in the nationally recognized program. The same maroon lettering in wind-resistant vinyl will be affixed to more than 20 additional planes in the coming weeks. (Photos by Russell Bailey)
August 05, 2020
No mistaken identity: There’s an SIU Aviation program plane overhead
CARBONDALE, Ill. — Instead of wondering now whether the sound you hear is a bird or a plane, a quick glance to the skies will have an indelible Saluki imprint.
Members of the Southern Illinois University Carbondale aviation shop recently painted “S I U” on the underside wings of two planes used by the program’s Flying Salukis. The goal will be to affix the same maroon lettering in wind-resistant vinyl to more than 20 additional planes used by flight students in the program in the coming weeks.
The unmistakable lettering should be highly visible to anyone in the Carbondale area up to about 1,000 feet, since flight students are usually flying around that altitude locally. Ken Bro, the aviation program’s chief flight instructor, said the lettering also reminds residents in the region of the nationally recognized aviation program.
“I’m a big fan of promoting the school locally,” Bro said. “Everyone will be aware of where we are and who we are, and SIU has a large fleet of aircraft.”
Bro also praised the aviation shops’ work in making custom foggles for each of the 360 aviation flight students who will be attending classes later this month. Foggles are eye protection used in flight training exercises for pilots who are learning to fly in simulated foggy or cloudy conditions. The glasses require pilots to learn to fly by instruments.
Due the COVID-19 pandemic, aviation flight students and instructors will each use individual foggles in training exercises. The program purchased clear safety glasses and aviation shop personnel, using a sandblasting machine, were able to cover most of the glasses so students can only view the plane’s instruments when flying. The revamped glasses are much less expensive than if individually ordered, Bro said.