Helping Pilot Students Learn to Fly: Motlow State opens Aviation Simulation Lab in Shelbyville

President Dr. Michael Torrence speaks at the opening of the Motlow State Aviation Simulation Lab. The lab includes three Redbird flight simulators, two of which are FAA certified. (Photo Courtesy of Motlow State)

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. — The flight training industry is thriving, and the future looks brighter than it has in decades. In partnership with Azure Flight Support, Motlow State Community College unveiled its new Aviation Simulation Lab located at the Middle Tennessee Education Center (MTEC) in Shelbyville.

“We are committed to education. This is exciting!” said Bedford County Mayor Chad Graham, “Motlow’s Aviation Lab is going to make a difference in the lives of people not even born yet.”

Just because a Pilot earns a certificate or rating doesn’t mean training is over. Ongoing proficiency training, flight reviews, and instrument proficiency checks are essential for safety and as a source of revenue for the industry.

“Motlow State’s new Aviation Simulation Lab builds upon collaborative relationships in the community to expand and develop the workforce in aviation. This increased training capacity provides more pathways to promising careers,” said Dr. Tony Millican, Executive Vice President of Workforce and Community Development at Motlow State.

The flight training industry needs a full pipeline of prospective students that it constantly replenishes, and Motlow’s Aviation Simulation Lab helps fill this need. The lab includes three Redbird flight simulators, two of which are FAA certified.

Motlow offers a full-motion flight simulator to help prepare students for the real-world sensations of flying. According to Redbird, “student pilots who learn flight skills in an aviation training device that provides accurate motion feedback transition to the real aircraft in less time because they know what it “feels like” to fly. They are less anxious in the cockpit, have better touch on the controls, and know why you need the right rudder in the climb.”

Full-motion flight simulators allow users to provide a hands-on simulation experience before a discovery flight. During the simulator session, prospects can try their hand at any number of exciting scenarios.

In addition to the full-motion simulator, Motlow also offers other simulation tools for all levels of learning.

“We will provide flight instructors to operate and teach in the simulators. This will tie in with our pilot training program at our Shelbyville Airport location. The simulators allow for reduced time in the airplanes at each step of getting pilot’s licenses and ratings, saving students money in the training process towards becoming a professional pilot,” said Allen Howell of Azure Flight Support, which is responsible for scheduling flight training on the simulators.

The simulators will also allow students to conduct emergency procedures training in a safe location, which can’t be done in an actual aircraft due to safety limitations.

The Lab is open to anyone interested in pursuing their private pilot license or maintaining their currency rating. For more information or to register for simulator time, visit •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently-owned, community newspaper located in Lynchburg, Tennessee the home of The Jack Daniel Distillery. We focus on public service, non-partisan, rural journalism. We cover the Metro Moore County government, local tourism, Moore County schools, high school sports, Motlow State Community College, as well as whiskey industry news and regional and state stories that affect our readers.}