By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Thursday, September 22, 2016, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) announce that CAE USA plans to begin offering comprehensive flight training to US Army aviators at a new training facility, opening in Dothan in 2017, as part of the company’s $75 million investment in the State.
Tampa-based CAE USA has taken delivery of the first aircraft that will be used in the US Army Fixed-Wing Flight Training program at the Alabama center. CAE has also begun preparing its initial cadre of instructor pilots for the program.
Gov. Bentley said, “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. This world-class training facility will train Army and Air Force pilots to keep our nation safe.”
The President and general manager of CAE USA Ray Duquettte said, “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.”
CAE’s new, 79,000-square-foot CAE facility will provide training for more than 450 US Army fixed-wing aviators each year, as well as flight crews of the Air Force’s C-12 twin turboprop aircraft. The Dothan Training Center stands a little more than 20 miles from Fort Rucker and the US Army’s Aviation Center of Excellence, the headquarters of Army Aviation and primary location for Army helicopter flight training for more than five decades. The training facility should be operational by Spring 2017.
Duquette said, “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.”
Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield (R) said, “CAE is a global leader in aviation training, and the new, state-of-the-art training center in Dothan shows its confidence in Alabama. In addition, this project highlights the State’s critical role in preparing military pilots for the important work they do.”
The Army has a fleet of more than 350 fixed-wing aircraft. The Army and CAE are also implementing a new training program so that entry-level Army students can begin their career track to fixed-wing aircraft sooner. The program serves as the formal training unit for Army C-12/RC-12 King Air recurrent training, as well as providing annual training to US Air Force C-12 King Air pilots.
Dothan Mayor Mike Schmitz said, “We are extremely excited to see a world-wide leader in aviation training locate in the Wiregrass region. 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.”