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Aviation training center opens in Wichita

WichitaA National Center for Aviation Training (NCAT) has opened in the Wichita, Kan., area at Colonel James Jabara Airport. The 230,000-square-foot facility offers high-tech training and research, and also will train government agencies in new technologies.

“What makes this the most unique aviation training facility will also make it a national hub for aviation training,” said John Tomblin, executive director of Wichita State University’s National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR). “The latest in highly skilled training linked with industry research will drive advanced technology to the production floor faster, creating a competitive advantage for companies.”

The National Center for Aviation Training is a partnership between Wichita’s aviation original equipment manufacturers and suppliers, Sedgwick County, Wichita, NIAR, and Wichita Area Technical College. Sedgwick County is the funding partner for the center, working closely with industry leaders and public partners.

NCAT opened this fall and offers 37 certifications and degrees in a state-of-the art space. It features 21 classrooms and 25 labs to provide hands-on, real-world training for up to 1,500 students.

“This training campus is a commitment from the Wichita community to the aviation industry,” said Vicki Pratt Gerbino, president of the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition. “The entire initiative from concept to design to curriculum is the result of Wichita’s aviation leaders working together and closely with public partners. The result is a training center designed so every detail is focused on meeting industry needs to advance our aviation companies.”

Aviation industry leaders from Cessna, Bombardier Learjet, Hawker Beechcraft, Boeing, and Spirit AeroSystems led the effort. Wichita-area aviation companies and suppliers also were consulted throughout the planning and design process. Construction on the $52 million NCAT facility began in 2008.

Alton Marsh
Alton K. Marsh
Freelance journalist
Alton K. Marsh is a former senior editor of AOPA Pilot and is now a freelance journalist specializing in aviation topics.

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