New Airbus A320 flight simulator prepares commercial pilots for safe flights
(The Philippine Star) - March 4, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Air travel has become an essential form of transportation in modern living, as it is the fastest way to reach long distances that land or maritime transportation could not seamlessly deliver.  The proliferation of new players in the airline industry buying new aircrafts for their fleet, made more complicated by cutthroat competition for lower airfares and increasing passenger volumes, call for the hiring of competitive commercial pilots who can guarantee on-time safe arrivals and departures.

 Also, most of the airlines handling domestic and international flights now purchase the Airbus A320, considered nowadays as the aircraft with the best features that can handle a large volume of passengers, making it the top choice for airlines that acquire additional planes to augment their fleet.   These two realities have brought together a viable venture, which, in the long run, will not only produce qualified commercial pilots but also safe and reliable air service.

 WCC Aviation Company, the brainchild of a visionary pilot and mayor of Binalonan in Pangasinan, Ramon N. Guico III, wants to achieve that through the purchase of an Airbus A320 Flight Simulator, the latest, most up-to-date intelligent machine that will help commercial pilots learn the intricacies of running a formidable commercial aircraft.  “There are a lot of stakes in flying a very expensive and sophisticated machine like the Airbus A320, and we need pilots who are highly attuned to maneuvering it,” Mayor Guico said.

 The flight simulator was developed by Dutch-based SIM Industries, a subsidiary of the company Lockheed-Martin, which uses actual flight controls and instrumentation from manufacturers to achieve the highest fidelity (in this case, the closest resemblance to the actual machine itself) possible.  Built from an actual airplane cockpit, it is richly detailed with an extensive airport library, with 3-D images of different airport runways, cities, terrain and even weather conditions to give students an overall realistic experience. It is the latest of the four existing flight simulators in the country, and the one owned by WCC Aviation Company features the latest and most state-of-the-art equipment.  It is also the only one located nearest to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

 A control deck at the back of the captain’s seat allows the instructor to change the scenario details via WiFi-enabled computer, where he can adjust times of the day, weather conditions, plane conditions, terrain and other visual details, depending on the lesson learned by the pilot.  As it turns out, the Airbus A320 is actually a very intelligent machine, which can fly by itself even in “automatic” mode, capable of landing on its own if only for a few manual manipulations by the captain or his deputy. 

“The fee is $33,000 for the two-month training,” revealed Guico.  Since it is not a “toy” but a Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP)-approved equipment, finishing the course entitles the “graduate” license to operate the actual Airbus A320 aircraft.  â€œIt will also target commercial pilots who are required by the CAAP and their own airlines to retrain after they complete six months of flying, just to regularly familiarize them on how to manually operate the actual aircraft,” said WCC Aviation Company ground instructor Romeo Layug.  Each student will have the chance to learn it for two hours in a day, coupled with classroom lectures using the simulator’s thousand-page manual as a textbook.

 â€œI believe so much in this project,” said Guico, who despite his share of local government work, is also a licensed pilot and instrumental in turning his municipality of Binalonan, Pangasinan, into an education hub in Northern Philippines by establishing the WCC Aeronautical and Technological College and WCC Pilot Academy, and they carry the distinction of being the first flying school to operate its own airfield and to offer Flight Navigator Trainers Procedure II in its curriculum.

 â€œIt will help local pilots to learn how to fly the most sophisticated commercial aircraft today, and if we produce more pilots we can address the many needs of the commercial airline industry,” he explained.  “Pilot-trainees also have the convenience of learning it in Manila, being very near to the domestic and international airport terminals.  The cost-effectiveness of learning it will eventually pay off the moment they start flying.  Pilots flying local destinations earn a monthly average of P200,000 to P500,000 a month, so they would be able to recover the costs in no time.”

 At the same time, he said it will benefit not only the Philippine commercial airline industry but the national economy as well, in many ways.  “We want to be one of the best not only in the country but also in the world, as an aviation services company.  I consider myself a risk-taker and hopefully it will encourage young aspiring pilots-to-be to take not only a lucrative but also an emotionally fulfilling career in the skies,” Guico said, as more and more beginning and retraining pilots expressed their interest in using the new equipment, with the WCC’s training center commencing full operations by February.

 For more information, call WCC at 912-3333 or visit

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