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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

CTC to purchase new planes for Aviation department

CTC to purchase new planes for Aviation department

Special to the HHES

Central Texas College (CTC) held a ribbon cutting during its Friday Night Flights Tailfin Tailgate celebration last Friday 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 utilized 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.

Courtesy Photo
Mike and Margaret Helm of Harker Heights, steer the new Frasca Level 5 flight simulator during the Central Texas College “Friday Night Flights” tailfin tailgate celebration at the school’s Aviation Science program hangar at Skylark Field.

“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 lightening. 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 (SAFECON) regional and national competitions which require schools to use their own planes during the event. This past October, CTC hosted the regional competition and finished second to earn a spot in the national competition.

Jim Yeonopolus, CTC chancellor, praised the CTC Board of Trustees 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. “At our core, our mission is to not only help students transfer to four-year schools but offer them the best training and preparation to land a job and a career. Thanks to the vote of the Board members, our Aviation Science program will now be able to do that at an even higher level.”

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 such as 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, members of the community were treated to refreshments and the opportunity to try the new simulator and fly in one of the new planes. CTC flight instructors took two guests at a time in each plane on a tour over the lake and surrounding area.

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