Western Michigan University plans to acquire a Boeing 737-400 flight simulator and to offer a jet orientation course as part of its ab initio airline pilot training programme.

Based at Battle Creek, Michigan, the University's International Pilot Training Center is training cadets for Aer Lingus and British Airways. Eight students from Emirates Airlines are scheduled to join the Aer Lingus course in August, taking to 72 the number of international airline pilots being trained at the University.

The Kellogg Foundation, which has provided funds to create the training centre, has agreed to part-fund the acquisition of a simulator, which is scheduled to arrive in the third quarter of next year.

If the simulator arrives in time, the University says, the Emirates class will be the first to go through the five-week jet orientation course. If delivery is delayed, cadets will receive the training at British Aerospace's school in Prestwick, Scotland.

According to Joseph Dunlap, director of the University's School of Aviation Sciences, the centre is aiming for "four or five" ab initio clients, including one Asian and one African airline.

Source: Flight International