Waterloo’s aerospace sector is flying high with the upcoming launch of a new flight simulation (SIM) centre and innovation hub at the Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre (WWFC).
The 3,300 square-foot facility, which will be located at the Region of Waterloo International Airport (YKF), will become a central hub for aeronautical education and innovation, helping to build the next generation of pilots and researchers right here in our community.
WWFC is investing a $1.5 million investment into the new centre, which is further supported by $250,000 from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario).
This project is a joint effort involving WWFC, YKF and the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Aeronautics (WISA), a leader in sustainable aviation research and education at the University of Waterloo.
The vision for the new facility is twofold: to reduce the airport’s carbon footprint and to democratize pilot training by making it more accessible via the SIM Centre.
The facility will be outfitted with top-of-the-line simulators for aircraft like the Boeing 737, De Havilland Q-400 and Airbus A320. It will produce “flight deck ready” pilots locally, helping to meet the international demand for qualified aviation professionals.
The center’s design incorporates eco-friendly technologies such as advanced HVAC systems and solar panels, which will power the building and contribute energy back to the airport’s hydro grid. Funding for the simulators and these green initiatives stems from a $9.2M investment in WISA by FedDev Ontario.
In 2022, over 100 flight-deck-ready pilots graduated from WWFC, including graduates from the University of Waterloo, Conestoga College and WWFC’s Integrated Airline Transport Pilot Licence Program. This represents over 20% of the domestic aviation graduates in Canada.
This week’s groundbreaking ceremony was a display of community solidarity, with key figures like Kitchener-Conestoga MP Tim Louis, Regional Chair Karen Redman, WISA’s Founding Director Suzanne Kearns and Director of YKF Chris Wood in attendance.
This expansion demonstrates our region’s collective commitment to aerospace innovation and to strengthening the Canadian aerospace industry. With state-of-the-art facilities and a work-ready talent pool, Waterloo is the perfect place for aerospace businesses to land.
Construction of the facility is set to be complete by March 2024.
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