The Commercial Aviation Department is housed in the Gibson-Gunn Aviation Building. The Gibson-Gunn Commercial Aviation Building includes several dedicated classrooms, 3 flight training device (simulator) bays, and departmental and faculty offices.
In January 1981, a Commercial Aviation Program was established by the Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Institution of Higher Learning. Delta State would provide courses in general aviation, aviation management, and airway science. The following year instruction began with two facility members and an enrollment of 20 students.
Today there are more than 125 commercial aviation majors, of which the majority are flight operation majors. The campus and airport staff has grown to 11 full-time members, including a 10-member flight instructor staff. The aircraft fleet has increased from two single-engine, two-seat trainers and one multiengine trainer, to 19 single-engine trainers and three multiengine aircraft, including a Beechcraft King Air C-90.
In February 1995, the IHL Board of Trustees recognized the quality of Commercial Aviation Department's undergraduate programs and approved the Masters of Commercial Aviation Degree program.
Plans for an aviation building to house instruction were accepted in August 1989; today, the building is equipped with the latest in flight simulators and audio visual aids. Funds for this facility were granted to Delta State University by Federal Aviation Administration. It is named after Dr. John C. Gibson, former Dean of the College of Businessand for Dr. Jack W. Gunn, also a former Dean.
On average, 70 percent of students enrolled in the commercial aviation program pursue a concentration in Flight Operations, while the remainder pursue Aviation Management. Faculty and students are fortunate to have flight operations located a few minutes from the DSU campus at the Cleveland Municipal Airport.
The flight training fleet includes:
For multiengine training, students have access to:
Part 141-approved courses include Private Pilot (self-examining authority), Instrument Rating, Commercial Pilot, and Flight Instructor.
All graduates of DSU's Commercial Aviation Program are Commercial Pilots with Airplane Single and Multiengine Land and Instrument Airplane ratings. Graduates must also earn a Flight Instructor certificate with Airplane Single Engine and Instrument Airplane ratings.