Western Michigan University flight training technology will now help students at West Michigan Aviation Academy. Western Michigan University donated a flight simulator to West Michigan Aviation Academy as a part of a continued partnership between both schools.
WMU offers what is considered one of the top college-level aviation programs in the United States. WMAA became the first, and so far only, public aviation charter high school in the U.S. The school initiated classes last fall and is currently enrolling for this fall.
The simulator WMU provided has an estimated value of $50,000. The device arrived at WMAA Tuesday at the school’s location by the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. On Wednesday Lennox Ramsey, a 16 year-old student at the school, demonstrated the flight simulator with instructor Keith Sutherland.
WMAA School Board President Dick DeVos welcomes the new flight simulator feeling that students will benefit the chance to “sharpen skills” needed to prepare for a career in aviation. Dave Powell, Dean of WMU College, announced plans to continue to work with WMAA as they grow and help produce a new generation of aviation professionals.
DeVos sees the simulator as an important part of the school’s training process, saying that it will have “tremendous educational use” and help students experience simulated real-world situations that will take the training out of textbooks and allow aviation concepts to be seen first-hand.
Patrick J. Cwayna, WMAA CEO, sees the addition of the flight simulator as a way of increasing the profile of the school and helping its students to attain a well-rounded education with tools that will lead to success. WMU uses the same type of simulator in its classrooms and feels the addition of such a simulator at WMMA will have a “real impact.”
The simulator teaches students how to operate a Cirrus SR20 plane, which is part of WMU’s aviation fleet. The academy already uses another simulator that serves to give students a basic idea of how a plane operates and how to handle typical operations.
The main difference between the existing simulator the school has and the one acquired from WMU is that the new simulator has real instruments and offers more of a hands-on approach to students. Western Michigan plans to bring part of their fleet to WMAA this summer, which will give students a chance to practice and hone their skills in a real plane.