WMU News

Massive 737-type simulator set for installation

June 6, 2000

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. -- A long-awaited piece of state-of-the-art training equipment-a full-motion 737-type flight simulator-will soon be rocking and rolling in its new Battle Creek home at Western Michigan University's College of Aviation.

Two flatbed trailers arrived at W.K. Kellogg Airport late Friday, June 2, to deliver a Frasca 737-400 flight simulator to the college. The acquisition has been in the works for more than two years.

The simulator is designed to replicate the motion of a 737-400 aircraft and operates with six-axis motion. It can create the illusion of acceleration and deceleration as well as such conditions as wind-shear, providing a full range of motion to accompany visual cues. Acquisition of the simulator will put WMU among a select few schools in the nation equipped to prepare flight students to operate aircraft such as the Boeing 737.

Installation of the simulator, made by Frasca International of Urbana, Ill., began the week of June 5 and is expected to take about two weeks. It will be installed in the newly renovated hangar that WMU acquired from Fed Ex last year.

The simulator, which is a real 737 cockpit, weighs more than 9,000 pounds and is approximately 10 feet wide, 16 feet long and eight feet high. In its resting position it will sit about five feet off the floor. Fully extended it will be nine feet off the floor. The cockpit will travel in an elliptical path of about three feet side to side, and four feet front to back. It will be partially visible behind newly installed windows on the Helmer Road side of the hangar and special lighting will illuminate the simulator at night.

Funding for the $2.8 million simulator comes from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, which announced a $1 million award for the purchase in March 1998, as well as from the Battle Creek Tax Increment Finance Authority, which approved $1.65 million in funding in November 1998.

The acquisition means WMU will be able to offer a jet orientation course that will serve as a capstone course for students in its undergraduate flight curriculum. The college also will be able to bid on contracts to offer the jet orientation course to cadets in its International Pilot Training Centre, which currently is training pilots for British Airways, Aer Lingus and Emirates Airlines.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 616 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu


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