A sneak preview of Flight Works Alabama on Thursday found a facility packed with gleaming hands-on exhibits on aerospace technology as well as workshop and classroom space ready and waiting for students and trainees.
It has been three years since Gov. Kay Ivey announced a plan to create a new aviation education and training center in Mobile, and nearly two years since a groundbreaking in September 2018. Flight Works opens to the public Tuesday, Aug. 4, with camps on 3D printing and sublimation painting starting the next week.
Funded primarily with a $5 million state allocation and developed in conjunction with Airbus, Flight Works was envisioned as both a tourism attraction and a center for workforce education and training. It seems well equipped on both fronts.
The Discovery Space features more than 40 exhibits with an emphasis on hands-on interaction. Airbus is not the only aerospace company featured, but the company’s presence is pervasive: Visitors can get an up-close view of the flight deck of an A320, a jetliner assembled nearby; take off and land an A320 in a simulator that is sure to be one of the facility’s most popular exhibits; and even play a game managing the company’s complex international supply chains.
Visitors can compete against each other in proficiency with simulated rivet guns or pilot a Mars rover in a virtual-reality station, study the inner workings of a torque wrench or compare