UNIVERSITI Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM) will be settining up its own Approved Training Organisation-Flying Training Organisation (ATO-FTO) academy at Senai International Airport, Johor Baru, in the third quarter to cater to its students undergoing pilot licensing training.
The flying course is part of the curriculum for students pursuing a Bachelor of Aeronautical Engineering Technology (Professional Piloting) degree.
The new flight school, called Asia Aeronautical Training Academy (AATA), is a collaborative effort between UTHM and its industry partner, ATAS Aeronautik Sdn Bhd.
It is in the process of getting approval from the Civil Aviation Authority Malaysia (CAAM).
UTHM Aeronautical Engineering Department head Dr Mohamad Fahmi Abdul Ghafir said currently, the students undergo their professional pilot training at various CAAM ATO-FTOs, such as the International Aero Training Academy and Malaysia Flying Academy in Melaka, and HM Aerospace in Langkawi.
“With this initiative, students in our aeronautical engineering programme can soon take their licensing training at AATA,” he said, adding that UTHM’s degree had a combination of engineering (2½ years) and professional licensing (1½ years) components.
Fahmi also said UTHM was intensifying efforts to build its own airport in Tanjung Laboh, Batu Pahat, Johor.
“The first phase of Tanjung Laboh Airstrip construction is almost complete. It comprises an open hangar, a control tower and a 800m by 30m unpaved runway.
“The second phase will start in 2020. The airstrip will enable UTHM to operate AATA in Tanjung Laboh,” he said.
“Having our own airport to conduct flight training is crucial for the success of UTHM’s aeronautical engineering programme.
“Tanjung Laboh’s airspace can be fully utilised to train students without disruption from commercial flights. This will enhance the quality of training as more time can be spent on air rather than waiting on the ground until commercial flight schedules are cleared.
“It will then be possible to shorten the time required to complete the professional pilot training,” said Fahmi.
UTHM will be offering other flight programmes, such as helicopter piloting and remote-pilot training (drone piloting).
To ensure that its programme stays current, the Engineering Faculty has appointed industry representatives to sit in its Faculty Industry Advisory Committee.
The panel will advise the department’s activities and review the curriculum’s quality and effectiveness.
“In addition, the faculty is also a member of the Malaysia Aerospace Industry Association. Through the association, UTHM is able to connect with big and prominent aerospace companies worldwide,” said Fahmi.
To support the implementation of the Malaysian Aerospace Industry Blueprint (2015-2030), UTHM will be introducing a new degree programme ― the Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Aircraft Manufacturing) with honours. The objective is to produce a workforce that can make Malaysia a hub for aerospace parts and component manufacturing in Southeast Asia.
It is a work-based learning degree programme following the 3-year university + 1-year industry philosophy. Besides the degree, students will be awarded the Malaysian Skills Certificate Level 3 (metal machining) and an AS9100 certificate. Intake is expected to begin in September next year.
Picture caption: (File pix) Artist impression of UTHM’s airport in Tanjung Laboh, Batu Pahat.