By SARA GIBONEY
KEARNEY – The University of Nebraska at Kearney’s new flight simulator offers advanced flying experience in a safe learning environment.
The Aviation Systems Management Program recently purchased a $130,000 state-of-the-art motion-based Redbird Flight Simulations unit. The simulator features a realistic view from the cockpit and dual controls that allow an instructor or co-pilot to perform maneuvers.
Terry Gibbs, director of Aviation Systems Management, said the new simulator allows instructors to teach advanced training techniques to equip students with hands-on experience. He added that the airline industry is facing a huge demand for pilots, and UNK is helping to train professional pilots.
There are currently about 60 students studying aviation at UNK. Students do flight training at the Kearney Aviation Center at Kearney Regional Airport.
UNK’s flight program features a flight operations emphasis for students who want to become professional pilots and an aviation support services emphasis for students who want to go into aviation management.
“The training is very specific to advanced flight operations,” Gibbs said. “About half of our students go into the airline industry and about half go into corporate flying. The program is intended to be centered around a core set of skills and knowledge that is transferable to whatever path the student wants to pursue.”
New courses are currently being developed to teach more advanced avionics classes with the new simulator.
The new simulator allows students to practice flying four different airplanes – a Cessna 172 with traditional instrumentation, a Cessna 172 with the latest computerized flat screen technology, a Piper Arrow with traditional instrumentation and a Piper Seneca twin engine airplane with traditional instrumentation.
“We can be training students on advanced techniques, advanced avionics and advanced systems without owning the airplane to do it,” Gibbs said.
“We can fly here (in the simulator) when the weather is not conducive to flying outside. When the weather is good we can induce bad weather to help students with decision making processes,” Gibbs said. “It allows us to have control of the environment.”
Students can practice flying in emergency situations such as engine failure. The simulator also has the ability to record the flights and replay them for instructor debriefing after the completion of the lesson.
Another feature is a program that creates a simulated Air Traffic Control experience so students can practice flying in complex airport environments.
The UNK Aviation Systems Management Program launched in 1983 after the Federal Aviation Administration created an airway science program to fill a demand for jobs in the airline industry.
UNK was the first university in the country authorized to offer the program.
In 1991, the program hired its first full-time director. Gibbs, who started as the flight operations director in 1992, eventually became director of the program. The program’s previous flight simulator was purchased in 1995.
REDBIRD FLIGHT SIMULATIONS
Features: Hands-on aviation training with computerized flat screen technology from cockpit … Simulated Air Traffic Control … Ability to record flights for instructor debriefing … Motion feedback for yaw, pitch and roll
Plane Simulations: Cessna 172 with traditional instrumentation, Cessna 172 with latest computerized flat screen technology, Piper Arrow with traditional instrumentation, Piper Seneca twin engine with traditional instrumentation
Aviation Systems Management: Launched in 1983, UNK was first university authorized by FAA to offer the program.
Program Details: Flight operations for would-be pilots, and aviation support for students interested in aviation management
Other: 60 students currently studying aviation at UNK
Source: Terry Gibbs, 308.865.8309, email@example.com
Writer: Sara Giboney, 308.865.8529, firstname.lastname@example.org