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University Relations

University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


UCM To Unveil Advanced Aviation Trainer

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Sept. 14, 2009) – UCM, the only public educational institution in Missouri to own and operate its own public use airport, is advancing its goal of training students in the most  modern cabin class jet aircraft in airline fleets today. The Department of Aviation plans to publicly introduce its new Boeing 737NG Advanced Aviation Training Device during an open house 2-4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17 in Room 207 of the T.R. Gaines Technology Building.

The open house is being coordinated by the Department of Aviation and the College of Science and Technology. The public is invited to come hear special remarks and have an opportunity to get a look at the new AATD up close. Representatives of the company which developed the room-size device, Simflightronics Corporation, Deland, Fla., are among those invited to attend.

William Rankin, chair of the aviation department, said the AATD simulates the experience pilots have when they step into the cockpit of 737-800 airline cabin class aircraft, complete with all the controls, instruments, and complex jet systems that they will find on a multiengine airline aircraft. The only exception is most of today’s jetliners won’t have as advanced technology systems that students will find on this training device.

“It’s a next generation cockpit that will allow us to teach students how to use a flight management system, which is the computer system that flies the airplane,” he said. “It provides us with advanced technological training opportunities that we have not had before and are not available at a lot of other institutions that have aviation programs.”

He noted that the department plans to begin integrating the training device into the aviation curriculum this fall. The department hopes to eventually use it to develop short courses for individuals currently working in the aviation industry who want to improve their skills. Programs related to advanced crew resource management and international flight training on North Atlantic routes are among many possibilities that could appeal to individuals off campus.

"I think there will be a strong industry demand," Rankin remarked.

Rankin said the training device can be used to meet some Federal Aviation Administration requirements for individuals who want to become qualified to fly aircraft with the B737NG configuration, including logged flight experience, instrument experience, instrument proficiency, and a maximum of 20 hours toward an instrument rating. It can also be used to garner a maximum number of hours toward private pilot, commercial, and airline transport pilot certificates.

UCM’s AATD is part of an effort to continually improve its aviation program, which attracts students from across the United States. In addition to the new trainer, improvements are underway at the Max B. Swisher Skyhaven Airport that will enhance the university’s ability to prepare students to work in aviation and to serve the Johnson County, Missouri's general aviation needs.