United Airlines upgrades flight training center in Denver to largest in world

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DENVER — United Airlines is gearing up for what it believes is a very busy future.

It recently added nine flight simulators at its state-of-the-art center in Denver to train the hundreds of pilots it will eventually hire.

“It’s incredible to actually fly an airplane and see the sights in the world as you see it from the air,” said Capt. Mike McCasky, who has been a pilot for 28 years.

He’s seen, firsthand how far training technology has evolved.

“It is exactly like flying,” McCasky said.

United is growing and that means more pilots are needed.

“We are hiring pilots to match the growth that the airline has announced. We have new hire classes started today, and will have new hires through the end of this year,” said McCasky.

More pilots mean more training. That’s where the flight training simulators.

“We have 31 on the campus today. We will have 32 by next March and then we will add simulators to our expansion base in late 2019,” McCasky said.

The expansion makes the Denver flight training center the biggest in the world.

United pilots aren’t the only captains of the sky learning on these machines.

“We will rent or sell excess simulator time to other carriers but that’s on an as able basis,” McCasky said.

United has added nine new simulators at the flight training center at the old Stapleton Airport in Denver. Each one is built to train on a specific aircraft.

The technology simulates everything from takeoff to landing to extreme turbulence, and even more. It’s all in a 100 percent safe but very realistic environment.

“We do things in the simulator that we would never attempt or try to do in an airplane to include upset recovery training,” McCasky said.

More than 130,000 employees will train on the simulators every year at the Stapleton facility.

Every pilot and flight attendant will train on the new additions with the goal of staying up to date on the latest best practices for safe flying.

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