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By KRISTIN HODGES kdh027@latech



A state-of-the-art flight simulator was installed Jan. 24 in Davison Hall and will save Tech aviation students up to $14,300.

The aviation department held the dedication for the TruVision Level 6 flight simulator at 2 p.m. in Davison Hall, Room 113.

Gary Odom, aviation department head, said students must have 190 hours of flight time to get their degree, and the flight simulator makes it possible for students to get those 100 hours inexpensively.

According to the aviation department, one hour of flight time in an aircraft can cost a student $143.

He said the flight simulator cost $440,000. Odom also said student technology fees paid for $200,000 of the cost.

Odom said he thanks Caleb Smith, Student Government Association president and senior marketing major, and Tech President Dan Reneau for their efforts with the Student Technology Fee Committee. 

Odom also said he is appreciative of Ed Jacobs, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, for his dedication and continual support of the vision of the aviation department.

Reneau said with aviation being an expensive program, the simulator is helpful for students.

“It does the same thing as airplanes and reduces the cost on the students. That is very important,” Reneau said.

Hollis Downs, state representative, said the importance of the flight simulator is the reduction of costs for students compared to flying in an aircraft.

Downs also said the simulator “brings prestige” to the aviation department.

Bob Kostelka, state senator, said this is only part of the continual  advancement of Tech, the flagship university in Northeast Louisiana.

Kostelka said, “[The simulator] plays right in line with everything else Tech has with nanosystems engineering and other accomplishments.”

Odom said the simulator was installed in August 2006, but had to pass the requirements to be certified.

Christopher Davidson, a senior professional aviation major, said “For those not familiar with Part 142, basically it’s a [Federal Aviation Administration] designation allowing students to minimize costs while off-hand maximizing quality.”

Odom said the Part 142 designation allows students to use the simulator for 100 of their flight hours, compared to 20 without the designation.

Davidson said the simulator provides extremely realistic situations and can be programed to represent a specific aircraft.

Odom said controlled conditions can be used with the simulator, and students immediately learn their mistakes.

“If a student is doing something wrong, we can stop it,” Odom said. “We can show them on the computer the corrections.”

With an airplane, students could not go through the exact situation again, but with the simulator, replicating any situation is easy, Odom said.

“We can put them in icy conditions. We can turn the temperature up and down,” Odom said.

The instructors can also program the machine to simulate turbulent conditions and strong winds, Odom said.

Odom said these conditions make the students work harder to stay on track.

When the weather outside is uncooperative, students can go in the simulator and fly, Odom said.

Odom said the only other aviation program that uses this simulator model is Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Reneau said as one of the two universities in the nation with this flight simulator, Tech ranks among the elite.

“It is state-of-the-art and it is the most modern [simulator],” Reneau said.

“We always want to be there.”

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