Fly high, aim high
Redge Lopez (The Philippine Star) - March 8, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - A few might know Binalonan, Pangasinan as a CROSSOVER town going to Baguio but the quiet municipality is slowly making a name for itself. Back in 2005, licensed pilot and instructor Capt. Ramon Guico III established the Binalonan Airfield to serve as the headquarters of what is now known as one of Asia’s best aviation schools. The WCC Aviation Company’s Aeronautical and Technical College is the result of Guico’s passion for flying and desire to provide the best in aviation education.

“I’m one of those kids who dreamed of flying and being free up in the air,” shared the 38-year-old pilot who is also the town’s mayor. After graduating from the University of the Philippines, he enrolled in flying school and  flew his first aircraft at the age of 23.

WCC started with only two hobby aircrafts and two students in 2004, and since then has produced more than 500 commercial pilots. Apart from its flagship Pilot Academy, the school has a flight attendant school and offers courses in Aeronautical Engineering, Aircraft Maintenance Technology and Tourism.

One of the aspects that sets WCC apart from other aviation schools is its state-of-the-art facilities. This includes the Alsim simulator, a European brand of flight training solution that projects actual landscapes on a 180-degree screen and can simulate different weather conditions.

The school also boasts of 30 planes that include brand-new Tecnam trainer aircrafts from Italy, with the two-seater P2002-JF model exclusive to WCC. Aside from training using modern aircraft, students are able to have a real-world experience because the school has its own watch tower.

The strength of its faculty is also a source of pride. WCC’s pilot instructors such as Capt. Carlo Torres have more than 5,000 hours of flight time, making him more than qualified to fly a commercial aircraft.

More than facilities and qualifications, the WCC founder considers character formation as the most critical aspect of providing education. “Developing the attitude and work ethics of our students is just as important,” Guico said.

The school’s curriculum includes subjects on personality development, communication and leadership to give students a holistic training.

WCC Aviation Company also owns Sky Pasada, a Tuguegarao-based air taxi services company that offers chartered flights. Guico plans to expand WCC’s services to include a park-and-fly concept and establish commercial flights from Binalonan to Batanes using a 19-seater aircraft.

He also wants to cater to travelers seeking adventure and novelty by offering sight-seeing tours of places that only small planes can access, such as flying over the famed Hundred Islands of Alaminos. He is also developing a different kind of piloting, working with different church groups for missionary flights to spread God’s Word to far-flung areas.

 

Attracting students from all over the country and from neighboring Asian countries is helping the local economy grow, creating demand for lodging and dining options. The first SM Savemore supermarket is set to open in March and other commercial establishments are opening within the year in Binalonan.

“My town development model here is to create a synergy between my two passions – education and public administration,” says Guico. “I would like to see Binalonan as a full-blown university town. We are inviting bigger universities to establish campuses here.”

Presently, Binalonan is home to other educational institutions such as the University of Eastern Pangasinan, the first educational institution run by a municipality; St. Michael de Archangel College, the first private college in Binalonan; Juan G. Macaraeg National High School, which has one of two Schools of Performing Arts in Region I, and others.

Guico’s infrastructure projects for the town include building sports facilities that are large enough to host regional sporting events.

After a decade of industry leadership, WCC Aviation Company is not only putting Binalonan on the map but making the Philippines known as the best country in Asia to get a comprehensive and globally competitive education in the field of aviation.

 

For inquiries, visit www.wccaviation.com.

AERONAUTICAL AND TECHNICAL COLLEGE AERONAUTICAL ENGINEERING AIRCRAFT MAINTENANCE TECHNOLOGY AND TOURISM ARCHANGEL COLLEGE AVIATION AVIATION COMPANY BINALONAN BINALONAN AIRFIELD GUICO WCC
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