April 25, 2013


By Randy Bradbury of Greteman Group

If every new wannabe maintenance technician could learn the ropes at FlightSafety International’s new Cessna Maintenance Learning Center in Wichita, KS, there’d be no technician shortage.

With its massive hangar doors flung open and every surface spotless, on April 22 the center celebrated its grand opening in Wichita. Dedicated exclusively to training maintenance technicians for Cessna aircraft and Pratt & Whitney Canada engines, the bright, shining facility represents the leading edge of professional aviation instruction.

This and other maintenance training facilities face major challenges in the near future, says FlightSafety’s Director of Maintenance Business Development Mike Lee. 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.

Looking around the new training facility, Lee said there’s nothing like it anywhere on the globe. Which helps explain why maintenance technicians from around the world come to Wichita to train in this truly state-of-the-art facility. This week alone, Center Manager John Brasfield said, technicians came from 15 nations to take advantage of the factory-authorized training.

A Close Relationship With Cessna

Brasfield, Lee and everyone else with FlightSafety gave big thanks and credit to Cessna for its long, close partnership, ensuring training accuracy and the latest best practices.

FlightSafety’s maintenance training brings the virtual aircraft into the classroom thanks to interactive instructional software derived from the company’s advanced Level D full flight simulators. But technicians immediately put that classroom knowledge to the test on a variety of working mock-ups, part-task trainers and actual aircraft.

The different approaches reinforce each other, helping ensure that technicians emerge with a well-rounded, deep understanding of the aircraft and its increasingly sophisticated systems.

Although the Cessna center is the newest addition to the FlightSafety maintenance training portfolio, the company continues to expand worldwide – such as a new network of Pratt & Whitney Canada engine training programs, and a recently announced agreement to work with Lufthansa to expand its Gulfstream maintenance training in China. Stay tuned.

© SpeedNews, 2013