Flight students on Cloud 9

You can fly high over Okanagan Lake or perhaps you would rather soar above the Caspian Sea.

Whichever you prefer, it could be possible – if you are a student pilot at Okanagan College.

The school recently purchased a new flight simulator, thanks to a series of donations.

Flight school director Mark Vanderaegen said the model MCX is one of only two in Canada.

“It stands for multi-crew aircraft,” explained Vanderaegen. “So this airplane can not only be used for single-pilot (simulation), but can be used for two people in the cockpit to simulate airline type stuff.”

The flight simulator costs $150,000.

Vanderaegen said the simulator, built in Texas by RedBird, uses motion to give the feeling that students are actually flying.

“You can actually simulate going anywhere on the planet with it and experience all kinds of weather conditions — everything from thunderstorms, to snow storms, to whiteouts.”

Okanagan College has two other simulators, but none are as advanced as the new MCX model.

Richard Visscher, a pilot and owner of ROV Consulting, says the flight simulator will give students at the school a real advantage.

“It will reduce the cost of getting your qualifications in flying,” he said. “Students won’t have to rent the full size airplane, they can rent this and get this.”

The flight simulator is also available on campus, so students can test their skills between classes.


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