University of Moratuwa, Katubedda, Sri Lanka.

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Rotaract Club of Alumni of University of Moratuwa, together with the Interact Club of Ananda College Colombo successfully completed the project ‘Air Wing’ at the Bandaranayake International Airport (BIA) on the 25th of May 2018. Air Wing is a concept which was aimed at imparting knowledge and understanding about the basic operations of an airport.

We gathered at the Colombo Racecourse around 9.00 am in the morning and left for BIA by a coach to reach the destination around 10. 00 am.  Upon handing over the permission letter to the airport security, we were introduced to Mr Sarath Bandara, who is an official of the Media Unit of the airport. He was joined by two more officials from Airport and Aviation Authority Sri Lanka (AASL) and a security officer for the workshop. After the security check-ups, we entered the lobby of the airport.

The workshop started with an informative session on the history of BIA. Our resource person explained why the first airport of Sri Lanka, which is the Rathmalana Airport, also knows as the Ceylon Airport during those days was not sufficient for the commercial flights. The land which the BIA currently stands had belonged to the Royal Airforce and has been acquired to build BIA in 1964 and the first terminal was opened in 1967.

After a bit of history, Mr Bandara explained the procedures and the importance of each procedure to ensure the successful operations of an international airport. In addition, the participants were able to obtain the first-hand experience on the challenges faced at BIA and how to overcome such situations. Further, the novel concepts in the aviation industry and the future prospects in airports both in Sri Lanka and overseas were explained by him.  This discussion was followed by a tour of the airport, covering the baggage area, immigration, lounge, duty-free shops and terminals.

We thanked Mr Bandara and the officials of AASL and left for the Training Centre of Sri Lankan Airlines. The officials of Sri Lankan Airlines Training Centre welcomed us and escorted the participants to the simulator facility of A320 and A330.  After a brief introduction to the facility, which is the only such facility in the island, the training pilot explained the engineering behind the simulators; the electronics, pneumatics, server system and the data flow from simulators to the server and vice versa.  Then the participants received a first-hand flight experience in the Flight Simulator of A320, from the take-off to control under different weather conditions to landing. The feeling was so real that some of us toppled when the flight took off from the runaway.

After thanking the officials, we left for Colombo with a lot of memories at the simulator centre, as well as the airport, with some students making up their minds to become pilots in the future!

By Rtr. Himantha Alahakoon

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