Two long-time faculty members of Southern Illinois University's Aviation program are retiring.
Aviation Department Chair David NewMyer and chief executive air transportation pilot Keith Mortag are retiring at the end of the month. Wednesday the two were honored as they returned from a training flight. Mortag says he'll always remember the students he's flown with. Mortag has logged more than 11,000 hours in the air for SIU since 1986. He says most of those were for charter flights and involved training students.
David NewMyer has chaired the department for two decades and will retire with more than 36-years of service. He says 9-11 was a major transition for aviation. He says student training flights were grounded for three weeks. NewMyer says increased security of flight training programs was a big change. He also says the costs associated with the program have really changed over the years. NewMyer says when he first started the small training planes cost about $30,000 a piece. Those same planes today cost more than $300,000.
NewMyer and Mortag were treated to a special ceremony at the Southern Illinois Airport as their plane returned to the hangar Wednesday. A number of airport vehicles lined the taxiway and an airport fire truck shot a plume of water over the aircraft as it taxied to the hangar.