TROY — WACO has announced a gift of $32,600 by Collins Aerospace that will support Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education in the community through a new flight simulation lab located inside the new 17,000-square-foot WACO Learning Center.
The Collins Aerospace Flight Simulator Lab will immediately house four desktop flight simulators complete with yoke and rudders as well as a certified Elite Flight Simulator that can be used to log hours towards both private and instrument ratings for pilots. The lab will have the potential for additional simulators to be added at a later date.
At a ceremony Tuesday, Dec. 17, the donation was accepted by WACO Air Museum’s Directors Gretchen Hawk and Nancy Royer, along with the WACO Board of Trustees. Cory May, vice president of Aftermarket for Landing Systems at Collins Aerospace, made the presentation in front of perhaps the most famous WACO in the world — the WACO Model ATO Taperwing. This aircraft rolled out of the Troy-based WACO Aircraft Company in 1929 and won the 1936 International Air Games in Paris in 1936. This airplane was donated to the museum in 1996 by the Goodrich Aircraft Wheels & Brakes Division, now part of Collins Aerospace, and is one of the museum’s most prized possessions.
Collins Aerospace now manufactures wheels and brakes in a building that was originally built as the WACO Aircraft Company. The WACO Aircraft Company was the number one manufacturer of civil aircraft in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s.
Sharing a historic building and a famous airplane are not the only thing the two entities have in common. They share a vision to invest in the future of the Troy community. WACO’s goal is to “Preserve the Past, and Inspire the Future.” Collins Aerospace recently announced its new corporate social responsibility program called Redefining Futures. The company plans to increase its impact locally and globally by aligning volunteer activities, civic leadership and corporate giving around three pillars: 1) inspiring youth to pursue opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) 2) investing in the industry’s current and future workforce and 3) strengthening local communities.
“The combining factors of being in the same community, a shared history, and a shared vision for the future make this a perfect collaboration,” Royer said. “WACO has STEM education programming for as young as pre-school and programming that continues all the way through adult education. I believe this donation is a declaration to both the local community and to the aviation industry of our shared vision to inspire the future. Together, we will shape a better future!”