High-Tech Flight Simulator is a Game Changer

High-Tech Flight Simulator is a Game Changer

MOUNT OLIVE – Future pilots in the UMO Flight School can now take advantage of the Redbird FMS state-of-the-art flight simulator. The simulator, which includes two aircraft setups- the Cessna 172 and the Piper Seminole, is programmable to simulate different weather conditions, terrains, and flying situations.

 “The simulator is a game changer,” said Gary Whaley, Director of Flight Operations.  “It helps our students understand situational awareness without the risks associated in an actual aircraft. It also allows our students to practice their maneuvers in an affordable way to become proficient enough to pass their FAA check rides.”

With seating space for a pilot and instructor, the simulator has 180-degree surround screens.  It has all of the same realistic features as the real aircraft. It is equipped with an innovative, three-axis, electric motion platform providing effective motion feedback for yaw, pitch, and roll. With a full aviation navigation database, the Redbird FMS allows students to simulate flying from anywhere in the lower 48 contiguous United States.

“Pilots who learn primary flight skills in a device that provides accurate motion feedback transition to the real aircraft in less time, because they know what it feels like to fly,” Whaley said. “They are less anxious in the cockpit, have better touch on the controls, and know why you need right rudder in the climb.”

Student feedback has been very positive.  “It’s been really helpful learning how to do crosswind landing approaches,” said private pilot student Claire Beitel from Irvington, Virginia.

Located inside the University’s hanger at the Mount Olive Airport, another key benefit of the aircraft simulation technology is that it is impossible to be weathered out.  “There are lots of times when taking off in a light aircraft would not be possible, but thanks to our new simulator, students can fly in all conditions,” said Jeff Jennings Aviation Instructor. Jennings notes that students can log around 50 accredited flight hours from the simulator.

“Due to the size of our program we are able to work with our students’ one-on-one for individualized training that is catered to their needs,” Jennings said.

The UMO Flight School is 141 certified as approved by the FAA. “This allows us to offer financial aid to help cover the cost of flight training,” said Jennings. “Compared to other flight schools along the East Coast our flight school offers flight training at a very competitively affordable rate.”

For more information about the UMO Flight School and aviation program, contact:

    • Director of Flight Operations Gary Whaley at 919-658-1930 or email gwhaley@umo.edu
    • Aviation Program Chair Jeff Jennings at 919-658-1932 or email jjennings@umo.edu


The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The University was founded by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists.

UMO Aviation and Business Management majors Claire Beitel of Irvington, VA and Matthew Heeren of Goldsboro, NC pause for a photo inside of the UMO Flight School’s new Redbird FMS state-of-the-art flight simulator.

A side view of the Redbird FMS state-of-the-art flight simulator, the newest training tool for the UMO Flight School.

Director of Flight Operations Gary Whaley and UMO Aviation and Business Management major Colby Perry of Eureka, NC are pictured inside one of the University’s training aircraft.

Aviation Program Chair Jeff Jennings talks with a group of UMO Aviation and Business Management majors in the classroom located inside the hanger at the Mount Olive Airport.