College of Technology

Aircraft Maintenance Program Receives Large Donation

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The competitive edge for students graduating from Idaho State University's Aircraft Maintenance Technology program just got a little sharper after receiving a donated flight simulator. The new, fully functional simulator will provide vital hands-on training for students enrolled in the program and prepare them to successfully enter a growing industry.

The donated flight simulator was provided by Western Aircraft, a Boise-based company that has taken a great interest in the College of Technology. Western Aircraft says their commitment and investment to higher education helps to ensure that their industry needs will be met by a future workforce. "This is real world application that we are supplying to ISU," said Tracy Kalbfleisch, Director of Aircraft Services at Western Aircraft. "I understand how important it is to have the basics of how systems work, and what you do when you get out in to the real world." The donated simulator provides students with the opportunity to train using the same technology they will see after graduation. The donated cockpit is valued at more than $100,000 and has already greatly bolstered the Aircraft Maintenance Technology program.

"Really what this provides us with, the cockpit trainer, is the ability to do entry-level tasks without being in an aircraft," said Gary Shipley, Aircraft Maintenance Technology program coordinator. "We can increase the number of people involved in our group setting and we can parallel the real world installations that this thing has."

Western Aircraft has also committed additional training modules and instruction from employees at the company. Kalbfleisch says the total value of their generous commitment to ISU is more than $250,000. Western Aircraft has made other program visits in the past to offer course instruction and provide hands-on training to students.

"We need to create excitement and show what careers are available in aviation," said Kalbfleisch. Graduates from the ISU Aircraft Maintenance Technology program continue to enjoy a very high job placement rate. Shipley says placement in aviation-related careers is well over 90 percent, and he expects that number to continue to grow.

"The demand globally, as well as nationally is higher than it's ever been," continued Shipley. "The average age is about 58, so there's a big gap coming up in the next 10 years both nationally and globally."

For more information and to view a video about Western Aircraft's donation, click here.


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Pocatello, Idaho, 83209