Donor support powers up new flight simulator at Okanagan College | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Donor support powers up new flight simulator at Okanagan College

Left to right: Kevin Carson, President and Operations Manager of Carson Air; Tracey Thompson, VP of Carson Air; Allison Ramchuk, Development Officer, Okanagan College Foundation; Kathy Butler, Executive Director, Okanagan College Foundation, Dr. Andrew Hay, VP of Education, Okanagan College.
Image Credit: Contributed

KELOWNA - Support from two local companies will soon place future aviators behind the controls of a cutting-edge flight simulator at Okanagan College.

Carson Air has pledged $125,000 to support the purchase and installation of a Redbird FMX flight simulator at the College’s Kelowna Campus.

“Carson Air is proud to be a long-time partner of Okanagan College in the training of commercial pilots,” says Kevin Carson, President and Operations Manager of Carson Air. “We hope this gift challenges and inspires many students, as they hone their skills and work towards careers as professional aviators.”

The donation was announced today by Carson during a ribbon-cutting celebration for a new training facility at the Southern Interior Flight Centre (SIFC) in the Carson Air Group’s new hangar at the Kelowna International Airport.

Adding to Carson Air’s support, the purchase of the new simulator was also made possible by a donation of $25,000 from ROV Consulting, a structural engineering firm based in Kelowna.

“It has been wonderful to watch the diversification in programming at Okanagan College over the years,” says Richard Visscher, President/CEO of ROV “It is something we are very proud to support.”

The event also marked the 25th anniversary of the College’s Commercial Aviation Diploma program and partnership with the Southern Interior Flight Centre, which is a division of Carson Air and operates out of Carson Air Group’s hangar and facilities.

To date, the program has graduated more than 312 commercial pilots.

It is a number which could not have been reached without the support and involvement of long-time partner Carson Air, notes Okanagan College’s Vice President of Education Dr. Andrew Hay.

“Partnerships like these are absolutely invaluable to our ability to deliver training that is attuned to the needs of industry and best positions our graduates to excel in their fields,” explains Hay.

“This gift made possible by Carson Air and ROV Consulting is an investment in the students of today, and the students of tomorrow. It will be a very important tool as we work to proactively train ahead of the skills gap looming in B.C. and to ensure we have exceptional new pilots entering the industry to meet the demand over the next decade.”

Like Carson, Visscher has a passion for flight. He is a trained pilot who has been flying for more than 38 years.

In addition to the financial contribution, Visscher also plans to work with the College to share his flight knowledge and experience by mentoring students in the simulator.

“Having quality training available to our students locally, from my own field of Engineering to Business to Commercial Aviation and so many others, means so much for our regional economy. I’m personally very excited to see students put their skills to the test in the simulator,” he says.

“It is a wonderful tool,” adds Carson, “One that will help students train for a diversity of situations and conditions they’ll encounter in the air. We’re glad to help the College provide innovative learning experiences like this.”

The simulator is expected to be installed and in use by students by next September.

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