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Arnold Palmer Regional Airport to host three-day pilot training seminar

Arnold Palmer Regional Airport will host one of the Federal Aviation Administration's WINGS Pilot Proficiency Programs next year.

The nonprofit, volunteer initiatives, which last three days, promote air safety and encourage general aviation pilots to continue training. They provide an opportunity to practice selected maneuvers in a minimum of instruction time.

The event, which draws certified flying instructors to offer training talks and flying exercises, will be held at the Unity airport next September, said Anthony Ferrante, chairman of the Westmoreland County Airport Authority, at a meeting Tuesday.

"We're supplying the venue for pilots and mechanics seeking recertifications in their respective fields," Ferrante said.

The airport will also host the event in 2011 and 2012 as part of the FAA pact, Ferrante said.

In the Mid-Atlantic region, the event has been held annually since 2007 at Wheeling-Ohio County Airport in Wheeling, W. Va., said Henrik Vejlstrup, FAA Safety Team Program manager for western Pennsylvania and portions of West Virginia and Virginia.

"We just finished our third year there, and we were looking for other places that would be interested in volunteering and (Arnold Palmer) came up," Vejlstrup said. "It will probably be a lot easier to carry this out there than in other places because of what the facility has to offer."

Participating pilots are brought up to date on runway safety, take-off and landing methods, and challenges presented by weather, Vejlstrup said.

Mechanics federally-certified to inspect aircraft can renew certifications by taking part in an eight-hour training session, Vejlstrup said. In addition, the program at times offers scholarships to high school students training to fly or to be aviation mechanics.

More program information is available online at www.faasafety.gov .

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