By Gillian Slade on March 18, 2017.
A Medicine Hat aviation school could soon be welcoming about 20 pilots a year from the U.K. to train for a career in aviation.
“This is a big opportunity with 10 students twice a year plus Canada students. It’s a huge boon to Medicine Hat,” said Terri Super, Super T Aviation’s president and CEO.
Super T Aviation has signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Flight Centre in Dublin, Ireland, and approved by the European Aviation in Safety Agency to be a satellite training venue for the NFC, said Super. It means students will have an EASA licence enabling them to work as a commercial pilot in the European Union.
“We’re hoping it will be attractive for kids from Ireland to learn to fly here,” said Super.
The advantage for students coming to Medicine Hat for training will be the cost, because the exchange rate makes it more financially attractive, said Super. Medicine Hat’s weather is conducive to flying year-round, the air space locally is less busy making it ideal for students, and accommodation will be provided as part of the package. Students will be housed at the airport for the duration of training. There is already housing for 28 students in place, said Super.
“It is always positive when a business that has been around for as long as Super T has, continues to expand and grow,” said Ryan Jackson, general manager for Invest Medicine Hat.
The impact on the community will be significant, said Jackson. You only have to look at the British Army unit at Suffield as an example of the benefits.
Training at Super T will include first obtaining a private pilot’s licence, then a commercial rating, instrument rating, night rating and multi-engine, said Super. There will be a huge ground school component. About 160 hours of ground school is normal but this will have 800 hours of ground school and 230 hours of flying time. Students will likely have some training in a flight simulator for a 737 aircraft. It would be exactly the same as a cock-pit in a real 737 aircraft, said Les Little, director, Super T Aviation.
Super says the training will prepare students for a multi-crew situation in a cockpit by the time they have finished the course. It means they will be prepared for direct entry to work for an airline as a first officer in a cockpit of a 737 aircraft.
NFC has a good reputation for preparing graduates to work for companies such as Ryanair and Aer Lingus in the U.K. Little says there is a huge demand for commercial pilots with companies such as Westjet and Ryanair hiring about 300 pilots a year.
For Canadian students, Super T is one of three flight schools in Canada; Ottawa Aviation Services and Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre, which offers a full-time, 18-month program under the Canadian International Pilot Training Alliance program and Air Transport Association of Canada.
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