Prepare for Takeoff

Prepare for Takeoff

Spring 2020

| By: Britten, Casey

Redbird flight simulators prepare pilot training students to fly in all conditions.

Sam Smith has loved airplanes since he was five years old. “I attended EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, and I’ve been hooked on flying ever since,” he says.

The 22-year-old from Green Lake is now a graduate of the FVTC Aeronautics-Pilot Training program and starting a successful career with Air Wisconsin Airlines, where he’s training to be a first officer. “I’ll be flying 50-seat airliners in and out of the busiest airports in the country,” he says.

While pilot training students earn a minimum of 250 hours of in-flight training in aircraft, they also use Redbird flight simulators to experience many unsafe flying conditions. “The simulators can replicate any type of weather condition, aircraft system malfunction and even air traffic control,” Smith says. “They’re as real as it gets without being in an actual airplane.”

Pilots Needed

There’s a worldwide shortage of pilots. The Federal Aviation Administration reports that the number of pilots is down 30% from 30 years ago, while the number of passengers has grown. Boeing projects that the aviation industry will need 804,000 new pilots by 2038 to meet growing demands.