Cessna to get maintenance training site

FlightSafety International plans to build a new maintenance training center to support a new maintenance program for Cessna aircraft.

The new 65,000-square-foot facility will be adjacent to Cessna Aircraft Co. and have runway access, officials said Monday.

The facility is planned for north of the Cessna Service Center on south Hoover Road, said Rich High, FlightSafety Wichita Cessna Learning Center manager.

Construction is expected to begin this year with completion expected by the end of 2011.

Cessna and FlightSafety announced the plan at the European Business Aviation Exhibition & Convention in Geneva. The show runs today through Thursday.

Plans remain on hold, however, for the construction of a new pilot learning center. Plans had been in the works

Moving forward "is still a function of recession/recovery," said FlightSafety executive vice president Eric Hinson. "We plan to continue to keep investing in Wichita. We're just going to do it when the time's right."

The new maintenance training facility will include classrooms and a hangar big enough to fit up to four Cessna aircraft.

The new training program, called the MX Advantage, was developed by FlightSafety and Cessna. The program will offer trainees classroom training along with hands-on experience on Cessna aircraft. Cessna will provide the aircraft for the program.

"It's our ability to combine our expertise in terms of providing instruction in aviation with the (the manufacturer's) expertise on a particular platform," Hinson said. "Whenever we put them together in one location, we think we get the best of both worlds for our customers."

The new center will meet the maintenance requirements of regulatory agencies in Europe and China, said Cessna spokesman Doug Oliver.

"They require more hands-on training," Oliver said. "It augments the classroom training that is fairly standard."

It's also will be an advantage whenever there is a new product, Oliver said. It will allow technicians to get maintenance training on a new plane, which otherwise they wouldn't have access to.

"Our ability to have the airplanes here, especially with the introduction of a new airplane, is going to be a big help to our customers," he said.

In other news from EBACE:

* Turkish Airlines Flight Training Academy has placed an order for two Cessna Citation Mustangs, the company said. Both will be delivered this month.

* Hawker Beechcraft announced that its Hawker 4000 has been certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency, the company announced.

* The company also announced an after-market package for its Hawker 800XP. The company says the package, called the Hawker 800XPR, boosts performance and capabilities by replacing the plane's original engines and adding company-designed winglets.