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Mayor Alvin Brown takes the controls in JU Davis Aviation Center’s new flight simulator

Photos by Donald dela Torre/Jacksonville University

A Mayoral Breakfast at JU’s Davis College of Business this week turned into an impromptu training exercise for Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown as he tried out the Davis Aviation Center’s new flight simulator.

Brown, an ’85/’89 JU alumnus, had heard about the $500,000 full replica of a Bombardier CRJ-700 airliner cockpit and thought it would be great to try it out. After the breakfast event Wednesday morning, May 22, he and JU President Tim Cost came over for a look, said Dr. Juan Merkt, director of the Davis Aviation Center.

“After explaining some of the simulator features and its role in our program, we set up Mayor Brown to fly the final approach into Atlanta Hartsfield International ¬†Airport,” Merkt said. “Mayor Brown, on the right seat, did a fantastic job landing the airplane with some guidance from associate director of aeronautics Mark Willette, on the left seat.”

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.