Central Texas College held a ribbon- cutting during its Friday Night Flights Tailfin Tailgate celebration June 23 to announce the addition of four new planes and a flight simulator for the school’s aviation science department.
Two Piper Archers and two Piper Arrows were added to the fleet of training airplanes along with a Frasca Level 5 flight simulator. The new inventory will be used for student training and flight competition.
Both Piper Arrow airplanes are single-engine (200 horsepower), four-seat aircraft with G500 flight displays and dual Garmin 650 GPS equipment that will be used in the Commercial Flight Course. The Archer planes are also single-engine (180 horsepower), four-seat aircraft that will function as the instrument rating-airplane trainers with G1000NXi avionics. All four aircraft include a custom paint scheme with the CTC logo.
“The new planes will further our ability to provide the best possible flight training for our students,” said Rick Whitesell, CTC’s chief flight instructor. “Each plane is equipped with the latest avionics technology, which means our students will have the most up-to-date flight machinery and hi-tech equipment to learn their craft and enhance career opportunities in the flight industry.”
The navigational devices of the new Frasca Level 5 flight simulator will allow students to practice current and actual real-world approach procedures.
“The training simulator is identical to the inside appearance and function of the Archer planes,” said Whitesell. “It contains a visual system which simulates flights along major city outlines, interstates, rivers and ocean coastlines. It also simulates flights through various times of the day, cloud conditions and other weather phenomena such as lightning. The avionics includes components to ensure the simulator operates and functions just like the actual aircraft which equates to maximum transfer of learning.”
The new planes and simulator will also be used to help students prepare for the National Intercollegiate Flying Association’s Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference regional and national competitions, which require schools to use their own planes during the event. CTC hosted the regional competition in October and finished second to earn a spot in the national competition.
Jim Yeonopolus, CTC chancellor, praised the CTC board for approving the purchase of the new planes.
“This is a huge investment in a program that has historically been very successful in achieving CTC’s goals,” he said.
CTC offers a two-year program leading to an associate in applied science degree and the commercial pilot certification with an instrument rating. The curriculum includes 14 core courses in aviation including private flight, advanced air navigation, aviation meteorology, instrument flight and aerodynamics. “The program has turned out many pilots who are now flying for major airlines, private companies and other businesses,” said Whitesell. “The new planes and simulator will provide our students the best training possible with the latest technology so they can continue to compete for jobs with the utmost training under their belts.”
Following the ribbon-cutting, residents were treated to refreshments and the opportunity to try the new simulator and fly in one of the new planes.