IT CARLOW is flying high following the launch of its new €5.5 million aerospace facility last Tuesday by minister for transport, tourism and sport Paschal Donohoe.
The Centre for Aerospace Engineering is the result of a multi-million euro investment by IT Carlow, making it the only third-level facility of its kind in the country.
The centre will educate undergraduates in pilot studies, aerospace and aircraft systems engineering with a simulated live aircraft maintenance environment, ensuring they have the most up-to-date industry skills. The Centre for Aerospace Engineering is comprised of an avionics workshop with a fleet of aircraft inside and even has its own hangar! Officially opening the centre, minister Donohoe welcomed the development and praised the ingenuity and progressive foresight of IT Carlow.
This new facility ensures that IT graduates can reach for the skies with careers in prestigious organisations such as the European Space Agency, Aer Lingus, British Airways, the UK’s Ministry of Defence and DLR (German Space Agency) now all within their reach.
IT Carlow offers degree courses in aero-engineering and pilot studies and its bachelor of engineering in aircraft systems is the only course of its kind in the country. The college is also approved by the Irish Aviation Authority as a ‘part 147’ training organisation, where students can undertake the necessary theoretical and practical training toward obtaining their aircraft maintenance licence (AML).
“Aviation is one of the largest and fastest-growing industries in the world and the Centre for Aerospace Engineering was developed to ensure that our graduates are desirable to the leading airlines and specialist aircraft maintenance employers both in Ireland and internationally,” enthused Dr Donnacha Lowney, head of the aerospace, mechanical and electronic engineering department at IT Carlow. “Alongside traditional studies in aerodynamics, aircraft design, mathematics, physics and technical communications, our students work on real aircraft inside the hangar. They’re even building their own Vans RV12 aircraft from scratch, which we hope will be airborne next year.”
IT Carlow president Dr Patricia Mulcahy said that developments such as the Centre for Aerospace Engineering and IT Carlow’s Dargan Centre have had a direct knock-on benefit for the town as a whole.
“IT Carlow is the biggest employer in Carlow, worth over €20m to the local economy, and continuous growth and development at the institute makes IT Carlow an engine for growth for the entire region,” said Dr Mulcahy.
Following his visit to IT Carlow, minister Donohoe also popped in to Carlow County Museum, Carlow Tourist Office and Visual. And he met Carlow County Council’s acting CEO Dan McInerney and local Fine Gael councillors.
Later that evening, minister Donohoe met Mgr Caoimhín Ó Néill and enjoyed a short tour of Carlow College before attending the Carlow Tourism Forum in Cobden Hall at the college.