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Sault College gets nearly $800,000 for aviation program upgrades

FedNor funding enables college to buy more flight simulators, traffic collision avoidance technology
Sault Ste. Marie MP Terry Sheehan (left) tries out a flight simulator at Sault College on May 23 after announcing $780,000 in FedNor funding for the college's aviation program. (James Hopkin/SooToday)

FedNor is providing $780,000 in funding to Sault College in order to upgrade technology and equipment for the college’s aviation program.

The federal funding will enable Sault College to acquire additional flight simulators, new traffic avoidance technology and renovations to the college’s hangar space at the Sault Ste. Marie Airport for flight simulation infrastructure and pilot training.

“It’s going to attract students here,” said Sault Ste. Marie MP Terry Sheehan following a May 23 announcement at Sault College.

“There’s more simulators we’re going to have, so it will create more capacity for the program, and we all know that when students stay in Sault Ste. Marie – or come to Sault Ste. Marie – there’s a major economic injection.”

Greg Mapp, chair of aviation technology, sais the acquisition of additional flight simulators will allow for more hands-on training for students at Sault College.

“It increases the capacity, or the ability, for us to train and have students come in and practice,” Mapp said. “They’re not all fighting for three sims [flight simulators] now – hopefully we’ll be able to have up to four or five when we add the news ones in to what we have now.”

“It would certainly increase our capacity, our ability to train students more, and it also gives them more practice time,” he continued.

“At the end of the day, it’s one thing to teach the students skills, it’s one thing to go in and practice with them, but the more repetition they get, the better they hone their skills and their craft, and they’re better prepared for the airlines when they get out.”

The funding will also enable the aviation program to have all its aircraft outfitted with traffic collision avoidance technology, which will be mandatory for planes in the program next year.

“We’ll have that technology that will help us to better transition out of the sim and into the aircraft, and it also helps our aircraft to be compliant with what’s required for when we have to fly into U.S. airspace,” Mapp said.

It’s expected the funding will create 14 new jobs.