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Taking flight: Region hosts grand opening of 3,300-square-foot expansion of local flight centre

The ribbon was cut at the Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre (WWFC) for the grand opening of a new addition on June 21, 2024. (Chris Thomson/CTV News) The ribbon was cut at the Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre (WWFC) for the grand opening of a new addition on June 21, 2024. (Chris Thomson/CTV News)
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The future of flight training has arrived in Waterloo Region.

The ribbon was cut at the Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre (WWFC) Friday morning for the grand opening of a new addition.

“With the new flight training devices installed, what our aim is here is that they will be trained with the aircraft they will have when they walk into at an airline,” said Tony Varga, chairman of the WWFC board.

The Aviation SIM Centre and Innovation Hub is a 3,300-square-foot facility dedicated to those pursuing careers in aviation.

“These students will walk out of this hub and into much more familiar environments,” Varga explained. “For the airlines, that’ll be a much quicker ramp-up time before they can be flying for an airline.”

Shesaid the project’s timeline was between 14 and 15 months.

“From the time we decided to go ahead with the building construction, ordering the simulators, the permitting, the construction… everything was between a 14 to 15-month timeframe which I think is unheard of.”

With a current shortage of pilots, the flight centre said those in training will have access to state-of-the-art simulators that will allow them to be better prepared for their future careers.

"We train about 300 students a year, or start at 300 students per year,” Varga said. “They'll graduate at a much higher level. Say you graduate at a high school level and go to an airline. Here you'd come out with an undergraduate level of understanding of the actual equipment."

“The simulators give a very close-to-realistic feel because of the visuals… they are tactically identical to an aircraft,” she added.

The flight centre has also partnered with the University of Waterloo and the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Aeronautics to help operate the new addition.

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