Contact: Wendel Sloan at 505.562.2253
Reporter: Donna Gutierrez
ROSWELL – It was a day to celebrate aviation safety. On Aug. 29, ENMU-Roswell, local legislators, city officials, and partners involved with the Alliance for Flight Safety Research celebrated the opening of the new wing of the Aviation Maintenance Technology (AMT) Center on campus.
Alliance partners also began operations for the new Flight Safety Training Center, welcoming the first group of pilots to complete the training.
The Federal Aviation Administration recently approved the expansion of the AMT Center. The $500,000 expansion project was completed earlier this year. In addition to hands-on training utilizing a wide variety of fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, students can now take advantage of four new smart classrooms to advance their AMT training. The 5,357 square feet expansion also includes four dual instructor offices and a secured resource room. The existing building was remodeled to include a computer technology information lab, a fifth classroom, an office for the program director, a reception area, and a larger commons area. The women's bathroom was also renovated to comply with ADA regulations.
The expansion project is possible because of the support of Chaves County voters who approved the $500,000 in state general obligation bond funds in November of 2000. A groundbreaking ceremony for the new wing was held on Nov. 12 of last year. New instructional equipment and training aids have also been purchased for the program through a congressional grant.
With the expanded facility, the AMT program anticipates an increase in its FAA capacity from 90 students (some now attend evening classes) to 110 students. Currently, there are 54 students enrolled in the AMT program, with an additional 29 students enrolled in aviation ground school.
The ENMU-R Aviation Maintenance Technology program is the only training program in New Mexico that is accredited by the Federal Aviation Administration. University and aviation industry officials agree that the demand for certified AMT technicians will continue to grow. The aviation industry expects 12,000 new airframe and powerplant mechanics to be needed annually to fill available jobs. Every student graduating from ENMU-R's FAA accredited aviation maintenance technology program has been employed with entry-level salaries well above the base-manufacturing wage in New Mexico. The unique program is a key part of the college's vision to attract new industry and jobs to the area to stimulate economic development.
The day was also designated as a Media Day for the Flight Safety Training Center (FSTC). Reporters from ABC News, the Washington Post, Time Magazine, and others were taken on demonstration flights in the modified Learjet used for In-Flight Simulation (IFS) training developed by Veridian Corporation.
A group of pilots representing the Airline Pilots Association were the first to complete the IFS training. The FTSC was established in Roswell by the Alliance for Flight Safety Research in cooperation with the Federal Aviation Administration. The focus is on improving the safety of commercial air transportation by reducing the Loss-of-Control (LoC) accident rate, one of the leading causes of airline fatalities. The alliance will develop new pilot training methods and technologies to teach pilots how to recover from the kind of events that have lead to LoC accidents. It is expected that 2,000 pilots, primarily from regional and commuter airlines, will be trained in Roswell over the five-year period of the project.
The alliance has five founding members: the New Mexico State Highway and Transportation Department, Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell, the City of Roswell, the Calspan-University of Buffalo Research Center, and Veridian Corporation.
ENMU-Roswell provost Judy Armstrong and Aviation Maintenance Technology (AMT) student Max Flores cut the ribbon officially opening the new wing of the AMT center, with members of the Roswell and Hispano Chambers of Commerce looking on.
(photo by Donna Gutierrez)
(L-R) Noah Rifkin, vice president of Policy and Legislative Affairs for Veridian; Lisa Stark, ABC News reporter; and Dr. Judy Armstrong, ENMU-R provost, pose before a celebration BBQ held at Great Southwest Aviation.
(photo by Donna Gutierrez)