The development of the new Aviation Research and Training Center at Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee – a center started by UMass Amherst and M2C Aerospace, Inc., of Milford, Massachusetts – is attracting widespread media coverage, including articles in the Springfield Republican, Generalaviationnews.com, Airsoc.com, and Intelligent Aerospace. The new aviation center will conduct advanced aeronautical research and provide training for air traffic controllers, pilots, and other aviation professionals. Read UMass News Office release.
The center will be located at Westover in space leased from the Air Force and staffed by UMass Amherst faculty and students and scientists from M2C. It will use a high-fidelity, 360-degree, air-traffic-control tower simulator that will be modified for three-dimensional views of a variety of operational environments.
The center is supported by a $5 million state grant that will be used to secure additional funding from the state and federal governments, private industry, and foundations, says John Collura of the UMass Amherst Transportation center and professor of civil and environmental engineering in the UMass Amherst College of Engineering. A five-year agreement between UMass Amherst and M2C was signed last September as an initial step in creating the center. The state has since released $100,000 from the state grant to conduct a cost study for renovating a building at Westover for the permanent housing of the center, which is expected to open in the spring of 2017.
“We’re currently planning to renovate approximately 27,000 square feet at Westover, about 7,000 of which will accommodate the 360-degree simulator,” says Collura. “Being based at a military installation, we plan to offer current military air traffic controllers who are ending their active service an opportunity to become certified as civilian air traffic controllers through an onsite training program.” (January 2016)