Diamond Trainers Get Spidertracks

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Diamond Aircraft continues to be successful in the training market and recently announced a 14-plane deal to Massey University in New Zealand. Two DA42 twins and 12 DA40s are included in the package. And while the university says it picked the Diamond products for their technological features, it will be adding some portable gear to further enhance safety. The planes will all have Spidertracks, a GPS-based tracking system that gives real-time position reports, a major safety advantage in flight training, according to James McCarthy, a Massey grad who helped develop the device. "The safety of students is enhanced because the trainers can follow the students in real-time and know where they are, wherever they are," he said.

Massey is the only university with a degree flying program in New Zealand and Ashok Poduval, manager of Milson Flight Systems, which runs the program, says advanced technology is the wave of the future for professional pilots. "By the time our students are ready to join the airlines, most aircraft, including general aviation aircraft, will have glass cockpits with sophisticated automated navigation and flight management systems. We are modifying our training syllabus so that we can introduce the required competencies at an early stage," he says. "Flying an aircraft today is not merely about 'stick and rudder' skills it is about managing a technologically advanced machine. We are investing resources to keep our students ahead of the rest."