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New flight simulator helping address nationwide pilot shortage

Purdue's new Hawker 900XP is helping train the next generation of pilots.

Posted: Nov 18, 2019 8:40 PM
Updated: Nov 18, 2019 8:43 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the number of pilots has dropped almost 30 percent over the last 3 decades as less new pilots are entering the industry.

Purdue's School of Aviation is hoping to address that shortage with the Hawker 900XP. It’s a new $10 million flight simulator that recently began operation at Purdue University.

"It's a full motion Level D simulator, which is the highest level of simulation device that the FAA certifies,” said Associate Professor of Aviation Jason Cutter.

Students can take-off from any airport in the world. Various simulations and emergency exercises can also be practiced.

"The technology and training here that they're going to be using in their careers as they get out in the industry. This is the same level of technology that all the airlines are currently using,” said Cutter.

Cutter said the technology gives students a head start for the future.

"It really gives us the ability to move them from being capable of getting the job to being ready to step into the job, into the industry,” said Cutter.

The pilot shortage is also being addressed with Purdue's Degree in 3 initiative. It allows students to get their degree in three years rather than four.

Associate Professor of Aviation Brian Dillman said this will help jump start a pilot's career.

"Seniority in airline is everything. The sooner you get on the flight line, the more opportunity you have within that given airline. So a year can be a substantial benefit to a student and their career overall,” said Dillman.

Currently in its first year, the initiative is estimated to save students $20,000 - $30,000.

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