Cessna Flight Simulator

General Aviation 

Cairns Airport’s thriving General Aviation Precinct is a major contributor to the regional economy, home to over 100 businesses including major maintenance, repair and overhaul organisations, education and training providers (Cairns Aviation Skills Centre and CQUniversity), freight consolidation services, and rescue and charter flights. Far North Queensland’s maintenance, repair and overhaul sector is vital to the region’s connectivity, servicing fixed wing and rotary aircraft that ply the Cape, Torres Strait, Papua New Guinea and the wider Asia-Pacific. These services ensure emergency and humanitarian aid as well as FIFO flights remain in air and provide critical connectivity to areas where it matters most. With the only independent heavy maintenance provider for large turboprop and regional jet aircraft in Australia, Jet Aviation, an early-stage proposal for an advanced fibre and composites manufacturing and repair facility underway, and the only independent maintenance, repair and overhaul operator for fixed and rotary wing on the East Coast of Australia, Skytek – Cairns’ General Aviation Precinct is full of significant opportunity waiting to be unlocked.

Status

The Cessna Caravan (C208) light aircraft is widely used under challenging conditions in remote locations across the region and the wider Asia-Pacific.

Pilot training currently takes place within aircraft, allowing little room for pilot error in treacherous and remote terrain and unpredictable climactic conditions. A number of crashes have occurred in this aircraft type with the need for a simulator to provide a risk-free training experience.

To address this issue in the general aviation sector, there is pressing need for the Cessna Caravan Simulator to implement advanced safety standards and enhance training programs for pilots serving rural and remote areas.

Benefits to the region

Expansion of Far North Queensland’s general aviation sector.
Australia-first Cessna Caravan full flight simulator, cementing the Far North as a premier aviation training hub.
Significant potential to establish Cairns as the national hub for pilot training for the Cessna Caravan, in partnership with the Queensland Government’s Aviation Australia at the CASC.
Introduce new standards of safety and enhanced pilot training for pilots who typically service rural and remote parts of Australia, PNG and the Pacific.
Free up aircraft for commercial, humanitarian and emergency use in the region.
Train and build capacity throughout Indigenous communities, as well as PNG and the Pacific (adopting a model similar to the current Pacific Maritime Security Program conducted in Cairns at the TAFE Great Barrier Reef International Marine College).

Recommendation

The Queensland Government invests $8m capital cost to establish Australia’s first Cessna Caravan full flight simulator (to be operated on a common user model) to ensure safe training across commercial and humanitarian sectors, establishing the city as the only such centre for specific pilot training across Australia and the wider Asia-Pacific.

Overview

The Cessna Caravan (C208) light aircraft is ideally equipped for versatile, remote operations in demanding conditions and is widely used across the region by a number of commercial operators. It is the most commonly used aircraft by Far North Queensland-based MAF International (MAF), the world’s largest humanitarian airline and the proponent of the simulator.

The C208 aircraft provides critical access to remote communities which would otherwise be isolated. There are just under 130 registered in Australia.

Pilot training currently takes place within aircraft, allowing little room for pilot error in treacherous and remote terrain and unpredictable climactic conditions. A number of crashes have occurred in this aircraft type with the simulator providing for a risk-free training experience.

A Cessna Caravan simulator would be the first of its kind outside the United States and would provide a steady stream of new pilots prepared in a safe environment for unique regional conditions. It would also ensure that current pilots are upskilled on an ongoing basis. Together with the Cairns Aviation Skills Centre (CASC) and Aviation Australia, Australia’s only Cessna Caravan simulator would cement Cairns as a national flight training hub, complementing the pilot training offered through CQUniversity’s aviation school.

It is anticipated that the establishment of the simulator in the city could lead to a CASA mandate requiring pilots across the nation to undertake training in Cairns. The simulator would align with the training offered at the Queensland Government’s Cairns Aviation Australia’s facility within the industry led CASC and also attract pilot trainees from across the region, helping build capacity in the Pacific, particularly in Papua New Guinea (PNG). MAF currently trains pilots in East Arnhem Land and hopes to further expand its Indigenous training program.

Establishing Australia’s first Cessna Caravan full flight simulator in Cairns and cementing the region’s position as a premier aviation training hub, requires a capital investment of $8m from the Queensland Government. This investment would be supported by MAF International’s contribution to operating expenses, estimated to be $945k p.a., including support, maintenance, administration and logistics staff and device and facility maintenance.

Last updated: 17 November 2023

Status

The Cessna Caravan (C208) light aircraft is widely used under challenging conditions in remote locations across the region and the wider Asia-Pacific.

Pilot training currently takes place within aircraft, allowing little room for pilot error in treacherous and remote terrain and unpredictable climactic conditions. A number of crashes have occurred in this aircraft type with the need for a simulator to provide a risk-free training experience.

To address this issue in the general aviation sector, there is pressing need for the Cessna Caravan Simulator to implement advanced safety standards and enhance training programs for pilots serving rural and remote areas.

Benefits to the region

Expansion of Far North Queensland’s general aviation sector.
Australia-first Cessna Caravan full flight simulator, cementing the Far North as a premier aviation training hub.
Significant potential to establish Cairns as the national hub for pilot training for the Cessna Caravan, in partnership with the Queensland Government’s Aviation Australia at the CASC.
Introduce new standards of safety and enhanced pilot training for pilots who typically service rural and remote parts of Australia, PNG and the Pacific.
Free up aircraft for commercial, humanitarian and emergency use in the region.
Train and build capacity throughout Indigenous communities, as well as PNG and the Pacific (adopting a model similar to the current Pacific Maritime Security Program conducted in Cairns at the TAFE Great Barrier Reef International Marine College).

Recommendation

The Queensland Government invests $8m capital cost to establish Australia’s first Cessna Caravan full flight simulator (to be operated on a common user model) to ensure safe training across commercial and humanitarian sectors, establishing the city as the only such centre for specific pilot training across Australia and the wider Asia-Pacific.

Overview

The Cessna Caravan (C208) light aircraft is ideally equipped for versatile, remote operations in demanding conditions and is widely used across the region by a number of commercial operators. It is the most commonly used aircraft by Far North Queensland-based MAF International (MAF), the world’s largest humanitarian airline and the proponent of the simulator.

The C208 aircraft provides critical access to remote communities which would otherwise be isolated. There are just under 130 registered in Australia.

Pilot training currently takes place within aircraft, allowing little room for pilot error in treacherous and remote terrain and unpredictable climactic conditions. A number of crashes have occurred in this aircraft type with the simulator providing for a risk-free training experience.

A Cessna Caravan simulator would be the first of its kind outside the United States and would provide a steady stream of new pilots prepared in a safe environment for unique regional conditions. It would also ensure that current pilots are upskilled on an ongoing basis. Together with the Cairns Aviation Skills Centre (CASC) and Aviation Australia, Australia’s only Cessna Caravan simulator would cement Cairns as a national flight training hub, complementing the pilot training offered through CQUniversity’s aviation school.

It is anticipated that the establishment of the simulator in the city could lead to a CASA mandate requiring pilots across the nation to undertake training in Cairns. The simulator would align with the training offered at the Queensland Government’s Cairns Aviation Australia’s facility within the industry led CASC and also attract pilot trainees from across the region, helping build capacity in the Pacific, particularly in Papua New Guinea (PNG). MAF currently trains pilots in East Arnhem Land and hopes to further expand its Indigenous training program.

Establishing Australia’s first Cessna Caravan full flight simulator in Cairns and cementing the region’s position as a premier aviation training hub, requires a capital investment of $8m from the Queensland Government. This investment would be supported by MAF International’s contribution to operating expenses, estimated to be $945k p.a., including support, maintenance, administration and logistics staff and device and facility maintenance.

Last updated: 17 November 2023