New Plane arrives at Prairie Aviation Training Centre

New Plane 6

Prairie Aviation Training Centre (PATC) received a brand new Citabria Taildragger on Friday, January 29, 2021, to be used to train their aviation students. The plane was funded by generous donations through Mission Aviation Fellowship Canada. MAFC and Prairie have been in formal partnership since May 2018. When PATC notified MAFC of their need for another aircraft, MAFC put a word out to their donors who responded generously and enabled this aircraft to be purchased by MAFC specifically for use at PATC.

The plane was flown from the factory, in Wisconsin, by a recent PATC graduate who navigated the winter weather to bring the plane safely to Three Hills. This is the first plane that is 'straight off the lot' that Prairie has been able to have on their campus.

Dallas Derksen, a flight instructor at PATC, says "This is not the only Citabria that we fly here at PATC. We have been flying Citabrias for many years, which is a large reason why we brought in another one. We believe that learning to fly a Taildragger produces better pilots...They are more difficult to control on the ground, and their flight characteristics do not allow pilots to build lazy habits.

Additionally, Citabria are certified aerobatic airplanes. In fact, the name "Citabria" comes from the word "aerobatic"...This Citabria will also be used in our Upset Recovery flight module, which is one of the last flight modules that our advanced students go through in our program. Our Citabria's are our only aircraft that are certified for inverted/aerobatic flight. In the Upset Recovery module students learn how to recover from many unusual and varied (dangerous) flight conditions, including how to safely recover to normal flight if they find themselves inverted or extremely nose up or down. Although these are skills that we hope our students will never need to use during the course of their career, having this knowledge is yet another way that this aircraft helps to produce a safer, more well-rounded pilot by the time they graduate and this is made possible with our Citabria aircraft. Of course, most pilots look forward to and thoroughly enjoy the Upset Recovery module. Turning your plane upside down is not something that pilots do every day!

Citabrias are very basic aircraft. Because of this, we also use them to help develop the very basic navigation and pilotage skills that every pilot should know. Although modern planes have fancy avionics and advanced capabilities that help out the pilots tremendously, every pilot still needs to know the foundational principles of navigation. Flying a Citabria on cross-country flights forces our students to navigate without reliance on advanced avionics. This new aircraft does contain advanced avionics, but it also comes with the capacity to function on a very basic level. The ability to go without extra help from the avionics is a key skill that these planes help us to develop in our students."

This plane is currently going through the regulatory paperwork process, and once that is finished, it is expected that the plane's first flights will happen this week. The PATC team looks forward to many years of training to come on their new aircraft.