I’ve never been more proud to be the agency of record for FlightSafety International than I was earlier this week. I was privileged to take part in the grand opening of the company’s brand new Cessna Maintenance Learning Center.

Looking around at top city officials and national aviation leaders – many from right here in the Air Capital – it was all smiles. There was no hand-wringing about the current aviation economy. Instead, we were celebrating a bright future.

And that‘s been FlightSafety’s approach through six-plus decades of growth that transcends aviation’s cyclical ups and downs.

The shining new center represents just the latest example of FlightSafety’s ongoing investment in experienced instructors, advanced simulation, instructional technology and training infrastructure. Does FlightSafety exercise caution during downturns? Of course. Does it shelve its plans and go into lockdown? Of course not.

Giovanna Schmidt and Victor White
Giovanna Schmidt, Product Sales Manager for FlightSafety’s Cessna Maintenance Learning Center, talks with Victor White, Director of Airports for the city of Wichita, at the learning center’s grand opening.

Part of a Long-Term Plan

FlightSafety conceived the Cessna maintenance center years ago during the depths of the recession, and began work in earnest in 2010. The center opened in 2012 and already has trained more than 1,400 maintenance technicians who work on Cessna aircraft and Pratt & Whitney Canada engines.

In the context of the aviation slowdown, this major investment might seem bold, even risky. But FlightSafety sees the long view, and acts accordingly.

The global aviation community needs this and many other maintenance training facilities to meet projected demand. FlightSafety’s Director of Maintenance Business Development Mike Lee says that in the next 20 years the global aviation industry will need 620,000 new maintenance technicians – both to replace retiring technicians and to fill expanding demand.

This isn’t the only investment FlightSafety has made in recent years. The list of new simulators, training programs and learning centers is long. As aviation emerges into the next up cycle, FlightSafety and other similarly forward-looking companies will reap the benefits of their foresight. We can all learn and profit from their example.

FlightSafety Grand Opening
FlightSafety Cessna Maintenance Learning Center Manager John Brasfield kicks off the grand opening ceremony inside the center’s spacious maintenance hangar.

*Originally published in BlueSky Business Aviation News on April 25, 2013.