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FlightSafety centers are concentrated in Wichita

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, April 22, 2013, at 11:27 p.m.
  • Updated Monday, April 29, 2013, at 3:04 p.m.

Mechanics travel to Wichita from all over the world to learn how to maintain Cessna aircraft.

On Monday, mechanics came from 15 countries for training, which typically runs from two to six weeks or longer.

They came from West Africa, Indonesia, France, Brazil, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, Australia and elsewhere

And with FlightSafety International’s new $7 million, 65,000-square-foot Wichita Cessna Maintenance Learning Center, they are learning with the latest in technology and training in a state-of-the-art building, said the center’s manager, John Brasfield.

The center, which opened in June, held its grand opening Monday.

The facility features 15 classrooms, four engine labs, an avionics laboratory and a 17,000-square-foot hangar where mechanics get hands-on training.

They use graphic flight-deck simulators on a touch-screen computer system.

Instructors use 3-D technology that breaks down an aircraft’s systems, such as cabin pressure control.

The students learn how the systems work, problems they might encounter and how to troubleshoot.

A master technician program takes five courses offered at the facility and ties them together.

In all, the center offers more than 150 maintenance technician courses.

That’s expected to grow to more than 200 this year, Brasfield said.

It’s an industry-leading building, said Mike Lee, FlightSafety director of business development.

“All the tools are here for the technicians of the future,” Lee said.

Last year, 1,400 clients trained at the center. This year, that number is growing significantly.

In January, the number of clients was up 20 percent. In March, for example, it was up 58 percent.

Wichita’s five facilities give it the highest concentration of FlightSafety centers in the world.

Cessna and Beechcraft each have FlightSafety pilot-training and maintenance-training centers, and Bombardier Learjet has a combined pilot-training and maintenance center.

Clients coming to Wichita stay in hotels, eat at restaurants, rent cars and shop at retail stores.

“We bring that revenue into the city,” Lee said.

The cooperation between FlightSafety, the airport and the mayor’s office continues to contribute to make Wichita an aviation hub, said Bob Reding, FlightSafety senior adviser to the CEO.

“Maintenance training is just as important as pilot training,” Reding said. “They get the best of the best right here.”

Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or mmcmillin@wichitaeagle.com.

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