MELBOURNE, FLA. — F.I.T. Aviation is one of the first flight schools in the country to offer training on aircraft with electronic instrument displays, thanks
to Florida Tech’s recent purchase of eight new Piper Warrior III and four Piper Seminole “glass cockpit” airplanes.
Greg Reverdiau, customer service and business development manager for F.I.T. Aviation, said the new aircraft help in the school’s mission to position
itself as the premiere flight school in the Southeast. “These planes fit in perfectly with our goal to offer quality instruction with personalized
learning. Glass cockpits are highly popular among airline companies and now we are able to train students in this technology, allowing for a smooth
transition to commercial airlines,” he said.
Unlike traditional cockpits, which rely on six separate mechanical gauges to display information, glass cockpits feature computer screens that display a
variety of data. This allows pilots to focus their attention on the most important aspects of aircraft operation and navigation, said Michael Grant,
assistant chief instructor at the flight school.
“The computer screens literally show you airport position. This is important because it increases situational awareness and shows you where you are. The
pilot always knows their point in space, a big safety feature,” Grant said. He added that in addition to the airplanes, the school also has two new flight
simulators and computer software that train students on how to operate the glass cockpit technology.
The Warrior III is a single-engine, fixed gear metal monoplane with low, semi-tapered wings. The Seminole is a twin-engine, all-metal airplane with
retractable landing gear. The cockpits in both planes have glass screens made by industry leader Avidyne, S-TEC auto piloting and Dual Garmin 430 GPS
systems. Each aircraft seats up to four occupants and has baggage capacities of 200 pounds. Reverdiau said about two-thirds of the flight school’s 170
students will be training on the new airplanes by spring 2009. “Students start training in the glass cockpit planes in their sophomore year,” he said.
In addition to the dozen new planes, students also train on electro-mechanical gauged Warriors and Seminoles, a Cirrus SR-22, a Liberty XL-2, three Cessna
172s and four Piper Arrows.
F.I.T. Aviation provides flight training to the Florida Tech College of Aeronautics. The college offers six aviation-related Bachelor of Science degrees;
three have a flight option. Flight instructors also train non-aeronautics majors and members of the area community, such as Florida Air Academy students.
F.I.T. Aviation also maintains and rents aircraft, offers communication backup for NASA’s space shuttle launches, and supports Hubbs-SeaWorld Research
Institute in marine surveys.
For more information about F.I.T. Aviation LLC go to www.FITAviation.com.
PHOTO: Nick Frisch, the new director of F.I.T. Aviation LLC, stands beside one of the four new Piper Seminole “glass cockpit” airplanes
recently acquired by Florida Tech for flight training.