Oklahoma State University celebrated an aviation milestone Feb. 26 with the grand opening of the state-of-the-art Ray and Linda Booker OSU Flight Center.
The 11,500 square-foot building replaces OSU Aviation’s outdated facilities and more than doubles the space available to students and flight instructors. Building highlights include 35 workstations for flight instructors, debriefing rooms where student pilots will receive feedback, a student lounge and locker room, an academic suite and flight simulation rooms. The facility is located southwest of Stillwater Regional Airport along North Airport Road.
“With this new flight center, we now have a home that matches the energy, passion and success of our students and faculty,” said Jon Pedersen, dean of OSU’s College of Education and Human Sciences.
He added that enrollment in the aviation program has grown by 40 percent in recent years and that the college has added five new Cirrus SR20 planes to its fleet.
Oklahoma State University is one of fewer than 20 universities in the U.S. to offer graduate aviation degrees and has become a pipeline for trained professionals to start careers in an industry with a dwindling workforce. In addition to training students to become pilots, OSU Aviation prepares students for careers in aviation management, aerospace security and technical service.
The facility was named in recognition of a 2019 gift from Linda Booker and her late husband, Ray, who graduated from OSU A&M in 1957 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Both held private pilot licenses, were passionate about aviation and wanted to increase the number of OSU-trained pilots around the world.