New simulator taking flight in Merced County

Watch the video for extended coverage from Action News reporter Sara Sandrik.
MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- A top of the line flight simulator will soon help train new pilots in Merced County. The 11-ton device was lowered into a large building at Castle Commerce Center in October.

The Sierra Air Center has spent the past four months adding hydraulics, fiber optics, a control center, and much more. Now staff members are performing the final diagnostic tests on the Boeing 737 simulator. And an Action News crew got an exclusive look inside the cockpit. It's designed to look and feel just like the real thing. The projector screen and motions can be programmed for any location in the world and any conditions pilots may face, from storms to technical trouble.

Sierra Air Center Device Manager said, "We have situations where an aircraft has a catastrophic or near catastrophic situation. We will take that data and incorporate into training so that other pilots can gain experience from what these people have experienced."

The simulator is the latest addition to the Sierra Air Center Development where more than 200 international students are currently training in classrooms and small planes and helicopters. They're set to start using the simulator this summer. It's also a major step toward an entire aviation business center that's expected to create about 3,000 jobs.

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