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Massey opens new state-of-the-art aviation centre 

Palmerston North MP Iain Lees-GallowayMassey Vice Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas; Transport Minister Phil Tyford; School of Aviation chief executive Ashok Poduval; Palmerston North Mayor Grant Smith; and Rangitikei MP Ian McKelvie.

Massey University’s new state-of-the-art aviation centre was officially opened by Transport Minister Phil Twyford today. The 2200 square-metre purpose-built facility brings School of Aviation students and staff together under one roof for the first time.

“The Massey University Aviation Centre sits in the centre of Palmerston North Airport’s 20-hetare Ruapehu Business Park,” school chief executive Ashok Poduval says.

“The project is the result of many stakeholders working together to develop a strong cluster of aviation businesses around the airport to deliver economic benefit for the region. Others will now be able to leverage off our reputation as New Zealand’s leading provider of aviation research, education and training.”

The new centre replaces the school’s Milson Flight System’s Centre, which has been the home of the school’s flight training programme since 1994.

Students outside the new Massey University Aviation Centre at Palmerston North Airport.

Paving the way for growth

“This new facility paves the way for growth in student numbers,” Mr Poduval says. “In recent years, our growth has been impeded by a lack of supporting infrastructure and the separation of our flight training staff from our academic and administrative staff.”

As well as the school’s fleet of technically-enhanced Diamond DA40 and DA42 aircraft, the new centre houses its ground-based training facilities, including a new-generation Diamond DA-42 flight simulator, worth nearly $700,000.

The school’s academic programmes, from undergraduate to PhD-level degrees, along with its remotely-piloted aircraft systems courses, will now be delivered from the one location.

“We intend our new centre to become a nucleus for the development and delivery of research-led education and training in aviation,” Mr Poduval says. “It is a major milestone for the school and shows how far we have come since the Massey Aviation Institute was established in 1987 with just 28 students.”

Aviation student Kate de Latour in the school’s Diamond DA42 flight simulator.

A global demand for aviators

He says the school is now well-placed to meet the global demand for pilot and aviation management training.

“Aviation is critical to New Zealand’s tourism, transport and export sectors and there is a shortage of pilots and aviation managers globally. Our new aviation centre will be central to our ability to promote our capabilities to an international audience.”