UAA add aircraft simulator, aircraft

Posted: Wednesday, May 14, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) The Aviation Technology Division at the University of Alaska Anchorage has added a new $2.5 million aircraft simulator and is leasing two new training airplanes worth $134,000 each.

The Merrill Field facility trains pilots and air traffic controllers and offers programs in aviation maintenance technology and aviation management.

Director Ron Haney said the acquisitions will help keep Alaskans in-state and train them for the rigors of Alaska flying. UAA competes with about 200 colleges and universities in the Lower 48 that offer some type of aviation curriculum.

We're keeping a lot of students in-state that may have gone out-of-state for an aviation education,'' Haney told the Alaska Journal of Commerce. They're also building Alaska experience flying in Alaska. That's very important to the operators that will eventually hire them.''

The Cessna 208 simulator, purchased with an appropriation from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, will become FAA certified this summer. Made by Frasca, the simulator has a six-axis motion base and a 140-degree forward view.

Basically this device can do almost all the things that the real airplane can do,'' Haney said.

In March, the school acquired two new Diamond DA-20 C1 planes for its professional piloting program. They are leased from Midtown Leasing LLC.

The two fiberglass Diamonds give the school five trainers. The UAA also has Cessna 172s.

The aviation division has about 350 students. It started a four-year degree program three years ago.

The school's air traffic control program offers students one of only three 360-degree tower simulators in the world. Salary range for air traffic controllers can range from $45,000 to $130,000, said Marcus Holmquist, research associate for the aviation division. In Alaska, top paying flight controllers can earn up to $140,000.

Can you imagine getting a two-year degree and making that kind of money?'' Holmquist asked.

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