Feb. 10, 2021
Air Seneca unveiled in new Flights Hub
Space features B737 aircraft trainer
Air Seneca is now boarding.
A B737 aircraft trainer has officially landed at Newnham Campus in the new Flights Hub, making Seneca the first postsecondary institution in Canada to have this equipment on campus.
“Flight training hubs like this are rare in Canada,” said Angela Zigras, Chair, School of Hospitality & Tourism. “We can now explore cross-disciplinary teaching and learning with the School of Fire Protection Engineering Technology, and work in collaboration with our airline industry partners to address their training needs.”
This month, the Flights Hub, in the former Mechatronics Centre, welcomed fourth-semester students in the Flight Services: Operations & Cabin Management diploma program to complete required in-person learning.
In addition to the B737 fuselage, the Fights Hub includes an A320 door trainer and mock cabin — relocated from Markham Campus — and a newly installed five-metre evacuation slide to enhance practical training.
The $1.7-million hub, partially funded by the province’s College Equipment and Renewal Fund, is also wired with livestreaming and video capabilities.
“Our simulators are fitted with the systems and equipment one would find on today’s commercial aircraft,” Ms. Zigras said. “The airline industry has evolved quite a bit since 9/11. Most people now recognize that flight attendants don’t just serve food and beverages or offer duty free. They do, but it’s only a small part of their responsibilities, which also includes procedural and emergency training to handle any situation.”
The trainer, the showpiece in the Flights Hub, is the fuselage of a B737 retired from service by Scandinavian Airlines. It has four aircraft doors, galleys, lavatories, flight attendant seating, emergency lighting and a fully operational communication system. It can simulate a water landing or a fire, and it has the capability to fill the cabin with fog to mimic smoke conditions.
Professor Nicolas Kyriacopoulos is a seasoned cabin crew member with Air Canada teaching in the B737 this semester. He says that while Air Canada’s training centre has a B727 trainer with similar features to the 737, Seneca’s is updated with the latest technology.
“What’s really amazing about this B737 is that students can be immersed in situations they may, or will, encounter on the job,” Mr. Kyriacopoulos said. “There was a lot of ‘pretend’ when I first started my flying career: pretend there’s a fire, pretend there’s a jump seat here, pretend to open the door.
“With the B737 trainer, students are able to touch and use the exact equipment. They can actually see smoke coming out of an oven. They can sit on a jump seat and strap into it. They can practise what to do if the doors are jammed when they try to open them in a simulated evacuation drill.”
In the words of Katherine Kao, a fourth-semester student, “It gives you a whole new picture of your job responsibilities.”
Ms. Kao and her classmates have been studying remotely since the pandemic hit. She says everyone is excited to return this semester to complete in-person learning.
“We’ve all been itching to do the drills and everything, especially with the new B737 trainer,” she said. “It’s much closer to what today’s airlines have. It simulates actual emergencies and gives you a much more accurate environment. It gets you more prepared for what’s actually coming.”
The only downside for Ms. Kao?
“It’s a shame we only get to use it for the one class.”