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JU Davis Aviation Center’s $500,000 flight simulator up and running, getting media attention

The JU Davis Aviation Center’s new $500,000 flight simulator is cleared for takeoff and getting media attention.

Chad Kendall (center), assistant professor of aviation who is a former US Airways pilot, instructs Jesse Gutenberger (left) and Patrick Jones during their simulated flight at Jacksonville University. Photo by BRUCE LIPSKY/The Times-Union

With the full replica of a Bombardier CRJ-700 airliner cockpit up and running and using Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport as its “home” runway, the gadget-filled training device with flashing buttons, realistic sounds and a wraparound screen is turning heads and giving JU aviation students valuable training time.

Aerosim Technologies built the simulator, which is the first of its kind in a higher-education institution in Northeast Florida, according to center director Juan Merkt.

In a Florida Times-Union story Thursday, March 28, reporter Dan Scanlan walked readers through a simulation with two JU students and their trainer:

Pilot Patrick Jones lined up the Bombardier CRJ-700 airliner with the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport runway visible out the cockpit window, as co-pilot Jesse Gutenberger monitored the video screen gauges.

As the approaching runway filled the twin-engine jet’s window, a screen displayed a warning and an alarm sounded — fire in the auxiliary power unit.

The simulation is part a $500,000 training device at Jacksonville University’s Davis Aviation Center.

“Would you guys go around or continue to the airport right now? We are five miles out,” Assistant Professor Chad Kendall said as Gutenberger tapped off the alarm.

“I’m continuing,” Jones said. “It would shut down automatically.”

Jones went on to tell Scanlan that the device is helping set him up for the further certification and training he’s seeking for his career.

“We get to see a faster aircraft with more complex systems long before we actually try to get hired for a job,” he said. “It makes the transition easier for us when it comes time to jump into our career.”

ActionNews TV 30/TV-47 was on-site Wednesday and plans to air a story soon.

To see the full Times-Union story, click here.