A Tampa-based aviation training company plans to begin offering flight training to U.S. Army aviators at a training facility opening in Dothan.
CAE USA plans to open the facility in 2017 as part of the company’s $75 million investment in the state, a little more than 20 miles from Fort Rucker and the U.S. Army’s Aviation Center of Excellence, the headquarters of Army Aviation and primary location for Army helicopter flight training for more than five decades.
“Alabama has more 100 years in aerospace history, and I am proud to see CAE make progress on the construction of the new Dothan Training Center located at the Dothan Regional Airport,” Governor Robert Bentley said Thursday morning. “This world-class training facility will train Army and Air Force pilots to keep our nation safe.”
With the project progressing, the company has taken delivery of the first aircraft that will be used in the U.S. Army Fixed-Wing Flight Training program at the Alabama center. CAE has also begun preparing its initial cadre of instructor pilots for the program.
“Our new Dothan Training Center will provide the Army with a modern, flexible and cost-effective training solution specifically designed for the Army’s fixed-wing aviators,” said Ray Duquette, president and general manager of CAE USA.
“The state of Alabama, Department of Commerce and all the local government organizations in the Wiregrass area have been incredibly supportive and instrumental in the creation of what will be a truly world-class training facility,” he added.
Beginning next spring, the company’s new 79,000-square-foot center will provide comprehensive training for more than 450 U.S. Army fixed-wing aviators each year, as well as Air Force crews flying C-12 twin turboprop aircraft.
“We are extremely excited to see a world-wide leader in aviation training locate in the Wiregrass region,” Dothan Mayor Mike Schmitz said. “Through the team led by Governor Robert Bentley including our local, state, and federal officials and partners, this project was made possible to bring new technology, innovation, and high-paying jobs to the area.”