USQ opens new flight simulator in Toowoomba

Students take off in world-leading flight simulator

THE COVID-19 pandemic might have decimated the airline industry in the short term, but that won't stop University of Southern Queensland student pilot Eliza Terry from pursuing her dreams.

The third year USQ aviation student said she was certain the industry would bounce back.

"At the start of this year it was one of the best times in the world you could be trying to become a pilot (with the global shortage), but three months down the track it became the worst," she said.

"But things will only stay bad for a moment, it will get better … we will need pilots again."

It's a view shared by USQ head of aviation Professor Paul Bates.

"There is potential, not just with pilots, but everywhere in the industry for (the shortage of staff) to be even worse than it was," he said.

"That's because people who move out of the industry quite often don't come back.

"And when it starts up again, whether that's the next few months or next couple of years, then it actually creates an opportunity for people who are thinking ahead."

Ms Terry yesterday became the first USQ student to fly in the university's new Airbus A320 simulator, located at the Toowoomba campus.

The university also has a Boeing 737 simulator located at its Springfield campus, making it the only university that offers both Boeing and Airbus training facilities.

"It was amazing," she said.

"I've done a little bit of training in the Boeing 737 simulator, but this is completely different.

"It's a great experience."

Ms Terry, who grew up on a cattle station in central Queensland, said her ultimate goal was to be a pilot with the Royal Flying Doctors Service.

Fellow student Emily Cook said her cohort was incredibly excited about the new simulator.

"I can't wait to get in there," she said.



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