Calgary Flight Training Centre now operating at Olds-Didsbury airport
Tom McCordic, chief flight instructor at the recently opened Calgary Flight Training Centre (CFTC) at the Olds-Didsbury airport, says he likes nothing better than sharing his love of flying with new pilots.
“There’s nothing more rewarding than taking students who have a desire to learn to fly and giving them the chance to train them up to be a good professional pilot and safe pilot and to fulfill their dream of flying,” said McCordic.
“What do I love most about flying? It’s the freedom. Everything else seems to melt away when you take off. All of your troubles seem to get left behind.”
The CFTC relocated to the Olds-Didsbury airport from High River, starting up operations this summer. The training facility, located in hanger 15 at the airport, includes some of the most up-to-date and high-tech training equipment found anywhere.
The facility operates three Diamond DA 20 two-seat aircraft, and one Diamond DA 4 four-seat aircraft, all equipped with the latest flight equipment, including Garmin GPS radio systems, he explained.
The aircraft are excellent machines that allow students to quickly and easily move to other aircraft once they get their licences, he said.
“I’m extremely proud of these aircraft,” he said.
In the hanger students can learn on a brand new Red Bird full motion simulator equipped with G-1000 panels or on the new G1000 trainer, which will prepare them for the latest equipment in the industry, he said.
At the school, students can take their recreational, private, commercial and multi-engine licence training. The training itself can proceed over a great variety of time frames, including full-time instruction.
With Canadian pilots able to obtain recreational licences at 16 years of age, private licences at 17, and commercial licences at 18, flight training can be a great way to get a job right out of high school, he said.
“By the time you graduate high school, you can be ready for work,” he said. “The day you turn 18 you can have your commercial licence in hand.”
The decision to re-locate the school to the Olds-Didsbury airport had a lot to do with the large interest for flight training in the region.
West Central Alberta a great place to learn to fly for several reasons, he said.
“It’s so close to everything,” he said. “You have the flat lands here for doing your training. You have the mountains if you want to get some mountain experience.
“I myself am a B.C. pilot. I’ve done the bush flying and have lots of mountain experience. Weather mixed with the mountains make it a little more challenging and we can train pilots for that. And the weather is pretty decent here. “You don’t have to start ground school in order to fly. As soon as you are registered in ground school courses you can start your flight lessons.”
McCordic, who has more than 5,000 hours of flying experience, recently returned to teaching after flying bush plane charters up north.
“I’ve come back to flight training because I really enjoy it,” he said. “From the time I was 11- year-old a pilot is all I ever wanted to be. Everything was geared towards that. When I finally got a chance to learn to fly, that was it for me.
“There’s something about the freedom you get when you are up there. It’s exhilarating. It really is.”
For more information on the Calgary Flight Training Centre and its programs, see the advertisement in this week’s Gazette.