Improving TSTC in the process
Waco, TX — In May, TxDOT awarded a $3 million grant to the TSTC Waco Airport on the campus of Texas State Technical College.
The money will help the airport keep its status as one of the most versatile in Central Texas, and in turn help TSTC remain one of the best aviation schools in the state.
“Right now we are enrolled in Traffic Control II," said Nolan Praesel.
Praesel, currently in his third semester, trained on a state-of-the-art flight/traffic control simulator Thursday morning. The setup is ran by nine powerful computers
“It’s really high quality," said Praesel. "It’s almost like you’re really controlling a plane. You are talking to somebody your headset and they’re talking right back to you. It feels like you have actual control.”
Just outside his classroom lies the real deal: a control tower built by a state grant just two years ago.
TSTC is one of a small handful of aviation schools in Texas. What really sets it apart is the airport next door, which was used for the James Connally Air Force Base until 1968.
“The greatest asset we have is the airport and the dual runways we have to be able to handle not only our traffic, but military training traffic as well as industrial partners," said Jim Rowland, Director of TSTC's Aerospace Division.
The majority of the grant money will go towards the re-pavement of the runways.
Much like a highway, problems pop up occasionally. Cracks are sealed and holes are patched, but every once in a while a major overhaul is needed.
The airport is needed for the state to keep luring big business to the area and to keep TSTC a destination for the state’s growing aviation workforce.
The project is set to start in August.