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New flight simulators to help WACO museum land pilots

Bill Slagle, a private pilot, is a volunteer flight simulator instructor at the museum and said these simulators aren t just a fun activity for kids. JAMES RIDER
Bill Slagle, a private pilot, is a volunteer flight simulator instructor at the museum and said these simulators aren t just a fun activity for kids. JAMES RIDER

The WACO Air Museum received a big boost to its ongoing construction of a new learning center.

Collins Aerospace donated $32,600 to help build a new flight simulation lab inside the Troy museum’s new 17,000 square-foot WACO Learning Center.

The Miami County museum already has four flight simulators currently used primarily by visiting students. Bill Slagle, a private pilot, is a volunteer flight simulator instructor at the museum and said these simulators aren’t just a fun activity for kids.

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“Our learning center is kind of going to be the link between keeping aviation alive,” Slagle said, “introducing — especially the youth of today — to career fields in all sorts of aviation, not just become pilots.”

For now, the flight simulators are housed in an office in the WACO Air Museum until the learning center is completed. Once that building is finished, not only will they be able to add more flight simulators, but they will have an Elite Flight Simulator that will feature three large screens and more sophisticated controls.

“Once that gets installed and it gets certified in the new location, that’ll be a real resource for local pilots — already certified pilots — to come in and help renew their certifications at a very much reduced price than renting an airplane,” Slagle said.

The WACO Air Museum is still in the fundraising stages to finish funding its new learning center, so no date has been finalized for when it will be completed and open to the public. However, the four flight simulators are still available for use at the museum.