MTSU students are the beneficiaries of a new $700,000 Department of Aerospace Flight Simulator Building dedicated Thursday, May 5, at Murfreesboro Airport.
Accompanied by aerospace faculty and staff and other university administrators, President Sidney A. McPhee led the tributes to the 3,600-gross-square-foot metal facility that will house four flight simulators at MTSU’s Flight Operations Center just off Memorial Boulevard.
Other features include a classroom, six briefing rooms, bathrooms and infrastructure to support spaces. The design of the building lends itself to future expansion in three directions, and the profile of the building’s roof is inspired by the profile of an aircraft wing.
“This is a very impressive building,” McPhee said. “With the various simulator technology we have for training our students, a new facility is an added bonus and a great space for them to learn as they prepare for aviation careers.”
“We’re very excited to begin using our new simulator building,” said Dr. Wendy Beckman, interim chair for the Department of Aerospace.
“Our faculty, staff and students have already been in there this semester. We moved over our four simulators that were in our old hangar across the airport. That hangar has been returned to the maintenance management program.”
Seniors Charles Greenfield of Kingsport, Tennessee, and Kevin Allsop of Knoxville, Tennessee, said the building has been a great addition to their final year in college as they await graduation Saturday, May 7.
“It has been nice to learn in a facility like this,” Greenfield said, “and to see the (aerospace) logo out front.”
“This has been great,” added Allsop. “It has been nice having a three-hour class in this building and to have the new furniture.”
The simulators are used by all professional pilot students at MTSU from early training through their transition to turbine-powered aircraft, Beckman added. Students began using the new building in January when spring semester classes got underway.
The simulators include:
- a CRJ, or Canadair Regional Jet, turbofan, a training device for small passenger aircraft.
- a Frasca Beech 1900 for turboprop aircraft similar in size to MTSU’s 8- to 12-passenger King Air aircraft. This simulator introduces students to high-speed and high-altitude aircraft, a two-person crew environment and turboprop operations.
- DA-40, a replica of MTSU’s fleet of 19 Diamond Star training aircraft.
- Frasca 142, a generic multiengine trainer that students fly as part of obtaining their multiengine certificate.
The Frasca simulators are named for Rudy Frasca, a U.S. Navy veteran, who founded Frasca Aviation and later Frasca International. Frasca simulators are used in all aspects of the aviation industry.
MTSU’s Department of Aerospace has nearly 675 students currently enrolled, including 641 undergraduate majors. They’re served by 14 full-time faculty and 12 staff members. In addition to maintenance management, major concentrations include professional pilot, administration, flight dispatch, technology and unmanned aircraft systems operations.
To learn more about aerospace at MTSU, which is one of 11 programs in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, visit www.mtsu.edu/programs/aerospace or call 615-898-2788.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)