A proposed RFDS flight simulator in Bundaberg is poised for take-off and will inject at least $20 million into the local economy during construction and $6 million per year when operating.
The facility will be the first of its kind in the southern hemisphere.
Mayor Jack Dempsey said it’s a coup for Bundaberg to land the simulator, which will attract pilots and air crew for training from across Australia and the Asia Pacific.
Council is considering a request to donate land near Bundaberg Airport, which has been on hold waiting for this project to go ahead.
“RFDS have told us they’ve moved to Beechcraft King Air 360 aircraft as the 200 and 350 models they currently fly are no longer manufactured,” he said.
“Hence the need for a new flight simulator.
“The nearest Beechcraft King Air 360 flight simulator is in Florida, USA. Given the current circumstances, travelling to the United States for flight training is simply not practical nor financially sustainable over the long term.”
Mayor Dempsey said the RFDS wants Council to donate a parcel of land in the Bundaberg Aviation Precinct valued at $405,000.
“It’s an exciting project but I think it’s important to be transparent about the proposal before Council formally votes on it,” he said.
“RFDS says that when fully operational, all of its 75 pilots will spend at least two weeks each year at the simulator.
“This equates to almost 1100 nights of accommodation in the region each year.
“It’s also on top of the $6.5 million that the Bundaberg aeromedical base and patient transfer facility currently injects into the regional economy each year and the 50 FTE jobs it supports.”
Aircraft manufacturer Textron Aviation announced its new flagship Beechcraft King Air 360 in August 2020.
With auto-throttle, better pressurization and increased cabin comfort, the latest King Air aims to ease pilot workload and make it more user friendly.
The aircraft has a maximum speed of 578kmh and a range of 3345km.
The RFDS has received a grant of $15 million from the Federal Government towards the simulator.
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