High-flying Chinese students have ticked off an internationally recognised air traffic qualification in Palmerston North.
Students from the Sichuan-based Civil Aviation Flight University of China completed their air traffic control basic training this week.
The students are in the third year of their air traffic management degree at Airways New Zealand's flight school in Tennant Dr.
Head of training Sharon Cooke said students travelled to New Zealand to benefit from small classes and world-class training for the air traffic control component of the course.
The programme provided students with an aviation English course - air traffic controllers are trained in English immersion environments, such as New Zealand, because the universal language ensures conversations are not lost in translation.
Students were also provided the opportunity to use state-of-the-art training technologies.
Cooke said the students enjoyed the New Zealand learning model, as well as the cultural experience.
"With one-to-six teacher-to-student ratios, our class sizes are much smaller than those at the Chinese universities, and our feedback from students about the quality of learning this offers is enthusiastic."
Students considered the hands-on experience that simulation exercises provided was "second to none", Cooke said.
The facility hosts six radar and three aerodrome air traffic control simulators, two of which can be adjusted for domestic students to realistically imitate New Zealand airstrips including Palmerston North.
Student Zeng Kequig said the control simulators were a highlight.
"They're amazing, they provide a good challenge for us and are very realistic."
Student Tian Zhenyu said the quintessential Kiwi encounter was enjoyable.
"The outdoor experiences we did in New Zealand were fantastic, our instructors took us to the glow-worm caves, surfing, bungy jumping, fishing and sky diving."
Airways welcomed hundreds of international students to its New Zealand training facilities each year for courses ranging from a few days to several weeks.
The state-owned enterprise first began training international students in Palmerston North in mid-2011.
The next air traffic control courses in Palmerston North will run from the middle of this year.
- Manawatu Standard
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