Hudson Valley Airport, DCC unveil new educational facility

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TOWN OF WAPPINGER – History was made on Thursday as Dutchess Community College unveiled their new aviation center at the Hudson Valley Regional Airport, formerly known as the Dutchess County Airport.  A plethora of officials from all levels of government gathered on the tarmac as the $16 million state-of-the-art aviation education facility was formally introduced to the community.

DCC’s Acting President Ellen Gambino hosted the opening of the “DCC@HVR” just a few weeks before the arrival of the new president at the college.

“The DCC@HVR Airport facility represents our commitment to broadening aviation education in the region, said Gambino. “We already have the reputation for being one of New York’s leading aviation education providers – our pilot and aviation management programs are second to none – and now with the addition of our new aviation maintenance technician programs and this outstanding education center, we are even more strategically positioned to meet the workforce needs of the aviation industry, now and in the years to come. Students who finish their training with us will be on a pathway to great jobs and successful careers.”

State Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said the program is a tool to diversify the aviation workforce.  She described the programs as a way to encourage more women and minorities to join the skilled aviation workforce.

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro touted the facility to those gathered on the tarmac.  “Dutchess County Government’s partnership with Dutchess Community College is soaring to new heights with the opening of the new Aviation Center at our own Hudson Valley Regional Airport!” he said. “The county’s investment of nearly $8 million to build the education hangar is part of a multi-prong strategy focused on increasing enrollment at DCC and creating a pipeline to new jobs. The new aviation center offers students the opportunity to gain in-demand skills for high-paying jobs while serving as a magnet to attract aviation maintenance and related businesses to locate at the HVRA where they can take advantage of a skilled workforce.”

“Dutchess Community College is a leader in aviation instruction in New York, providing specialized skill training that SUNY is known for, and the new aviation maintenance program and this state-of-the-art center will allow the college to offer students a world-class training facility to meet the aviation industry’s worldwide growing workforce demands,” said SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras. “From this center, students will benefit from real, hands-on learning experiences that will prepare them for the aviation field. Dutchess Community College’s new aviation training facility is world-leading and will make the Hudson Valley the epicenter for training the world’s workforce. My thanks to Acting President Ellen Gambino for leading this effort with the support of our state and local leaders.”

The 31,800 square-foot facility features:

  • Advanced aircraft system simulators, including the Redbird Full Motion Three-Axis Simulator.
  • Access to general aviation and corporate aviation aircraft, including the Gulf Stream G3; a selection of Cessna aircraft, including the 404, 172, and 182; models; a Beechcraft T34; a Piper P26; a Robinson 22 (helicopter); and a Mooney MC20.
  • Turbine and piston engines for students to overhaul.
  • A modern welding and sheet metal shop.
  • Five classrooms appropriately configured for aviation courses and designed to individually accommodate classes of 25 and 40 students.
  • A technical library.
  • A fully-equipped testing room, offering access to fire detection, ice and rain protection, and autopilot systems.
  • A student breakroom offering grab-n-go and beverage vending machines.
  • A specialized tool and equipment room.
  • Fully functioning and runnable test cell turbine and piston engines.
  • DCC@HVR Airport also includes two working hangar spaces: a 15,000 sq. ft. teaching laboratory and an 11,000 sq. ft. experiential learning environment.

DCC @ HVR Airport is home to Falcon One, a Grumman G3-C20 jet previously owned by the U.S. government and used by presidents George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, and General Norman Schwarzkopf. The airplane supports the hands-on learning required of students in the aviation maintenance technician program.

Support for the facility was provided by the state, Dutchess County, and Empire State Development.

Classes for the college’s new aviation maintenance technician program begin August 16 while pilot and aviation management instruction begin August 23.

For more information about DCC@HVR Airport and the College’s aviation programs, visit the website at www.sunydutchess.edu/aviation.