Touring the Philippine Academy for Aviation Training in Pampanga

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If you think its scary when your plane hit turbulence during its descent, I realized its much more scary if you are the one on the Captain’s seat. Take off was pretty straight forward, but I still wasn’t smooth about it. After the take off and not so smooth landing, I know I’m not going to become a pilot, but I can imagine that it would be spectacular to learn at the Philippine Academy for Aviation Training.

I believe I can Fly!
I believe I can Fly!

Last year I was able to visit the Bombardier Aerospace Aircraft Assembly Plant in Toronto and since then Ive been wishing and dreaming to experience how it feels to operate any type of aircraft. Another wish was granted when I was invited last week by Cebu Pacific to visit the Philippine Academy for Aviation Training in Pampanga along with other travel writers from print media.

Philippine Academy for Aviation Training in Clark Pampanga
Philippine Academy for Aviation Training in Clark Pampanga

The Philippine Academy for Aviation Training (PAAT) in Pampanga is owned by Cebu Pacific Air and is used to train pilots that already have their license to fly a single engine. Private companies can send their pilots to PAAT in order to train them to the highest standards.

Travel Writers with PAAT and Cebu Pacific
Travel Writers with PAAT and Cebu Pacific

I met Mr. Raoul S. Perez – the General Manager of the Training facility who toured us around the entire facility. When you tour the PAAT facility, you get to test out the flight simulator, which is both overwhelming and invigorating. And of course, the whole experience was a bit awe inspiring.

Inside PAAT Training Room
Inside PAAT Training Room

The atmosphere at PAAT is serious but not too intense. It’s clear that the priority here is focus and precision. Flying an Airbus A-320 that’s full of passengers is a big responsibility, and you can tell that the students understand that they’re not there to goof off. Everyone is focused, serious, and they go about their business as if we’re not there. Of course, everyone on the tour was quiet and respectful due to the sober atmosphere. But we were all pretty excited, too.

Inside A320 flight deck
Inside A320 flight deck

The students here learn to fly Airbus planes A319, A320, and A321. It was opened in 2012 and was the first CAE aviation training center in the Philippines. The goal was to provide a training center that caters to Cebu Pacific Air as well as any other operators in the region who want to ensure that their pilots are highly trained.

Airbus A320 flight deck at night
Airbus A320 flight deck at night

Safety is a huge priority for anyone flying airplanes, and the best way to ensure safety is to provide excellent quality training programs. PAAT is the place for just that.

Since the 1960s a rise in aviation training centers has led to declines in accidents. Naturally, the demand for high quality training has risen since this information came to light. A single accident for an airline can be painfully tragic for everyone involved, and the reputation of the airline can suffer for years.

Airbus A320 Full Flight Simulator
Airbus A320 Full Flight Simulator

There’s a very high incentive for airlines to provide additional training for their pilots and to ensure that they’re certified to the highest standards. As a result, a local Philippines aviation training center was badly needed and CAE finally decided to invest in the country last year. The good news is that demand is high for this kind of training program and the company is doing well.

Airbus A320 Simulator Computer Room
Airbus A320 Simulator Computer Room

The facilities are still pretty new, and it feels like everything has been well kept over the past year. Although training was going on around us, we were able to tour without interrupting anyone. Instead, we were ushered through the various spaces, given a bit of history about Airbus and the planes that graduates of the Academy will fly, and we learned a lot of fun facts about aviation. I never know how interesting aviation could be.

What it’s Like to Fly an Airplane?

The highlight of the tour, of course, was the simulator. Everyone got their turn flying a huge airplane and even though I was completely aware of the fact that I was in a simulator, it was kind of stressful. Nobody cares whether I can fly an airplane or not, but the simulator was incredibly realistic. I felt like it was important that I at least do my best.

The Pilot in Command
The Pilot in Command:)

The simulator offers a variety of scenarios and mine was pretty basic, fortunately. No emergency landing for me. But I can imagine that if you’re training to do this job in real life, even the basic simulation must be pretty stressful.

I had a lot of fun with the simulator, mostly because I’d never even thought of flying an airplane before and this gave me the chance to try it out. I feel more confident about the skills of pilots who go through the PAAT training knowing that they have to train with that simulator.

All-in-all, it was a day well spent and I was glad for the opportunity. Many thanks to Philippine Academy for Aviation Training and Cebu Pacific for that wonderful experience.

Philippine Academy for Aviation Training
C.M. Recto Highway
corner P. Kalaw Street
Clark Freeport Zone
Pampanga, Philippines 2023
Phone: +63 45 499 3509
Email : PAAT.CustomerService@cae.com
Website : http://paat-aviation.com/

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