Major Investment at Castle Airport

May 9, 2008 8:36:05 PM PDT
They are bringing a new flight simulator that promises to attract hundreds of students and millions of dollars. Large planes no longer take off everyday from castle airport. That's going to change thanks to a new hi-tech tool. Students at the Sierra Academy of Aeronautics will soon learn to fly with a jet simulator.Ralph Bailey teaches flying with a turboprop simulator. When the new machines arrive, students will learn how to fly large commercial jets like the 737s flown by southwest airlines.

The school currently uses older simulators which feel like flying the real thing. But the biggest difference with the new simulators is they are going to be three times bigger, which means the actual simulation should be three times better. Bailey said, "When you walk into that simulator and you didn't know you were in a simulator, you would not know the difference between that simulator and an actual plane."

Its technology that is expected to attract 200 students. They will be learning to fly the world's fleet of passenger jets. Merced County hopes more people at Castle Airport equals more money for valley businesses. John Fowler with Merced County Economic development said, "Will Fresno see a direct impact from this? Not direct, but indirect because there will be more spending money for people to do things in Fresno."

Many feared the Airforce leaving would devastate Merced County, but with the new simulator arriving in September residents say it's proof Castle Airport is thriving.


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