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The very, very, very light jet

A unique approach to training.

September 15, 2008  By Brian McNair

Walter Randa alongside his inflatable aircraft that resembles a Lear 45XR for hands-on training.

The annual CBAA conference, held in Toronto this year, gives companies a gathering place to meet, network and do business face to face. One such company attending this year’s gathering was Leading Edge, a de-icing and ground-handling training company based in Montreal. Now, there are other very good training companies out there in the industry but this company has taken a unique approach to training air and ground crews. They provide classroom and e-training but then they take it to the next step by providing a scale, inflatable aircraft for hands-on training.

Their (MTU) Mobile Training Unit is an inflatable aircraft on a trailer that resembles a Lear 45XR. This unit is ideal for safely training new ground handlers at FBO’s or corporate flight departments without endangering multi-million dollar aircraft. The ramp and hangar work environment can be challenging and intimidating for new employees, and hands-on training can make the difference between a steep learning curve or a bad case of hangar rash.

Leading Edge has been in business since 1997, training air crew and ground handlers on proper de-icing procedures. The “flexible jet” entered service in 2006 and has become a valuable training aid. Students get to actually practice what they have learned in the classroom. They can walk through the safety procedures and identify danger zones associated with jets. They can even practice de-icing and towing the flexible jet as they would a real aircraft. The wheel base is accurate and a tow bar can be attached to practice pushbacks and hangar loading.

Company president Walter Randa has even bigger plans for the flexible jet
concept. Next year he plans on adding an 80 foot long 737 model to help service the airline industry’s training needs. Companies will be able to train on bridging, towing, approaching an aircraft with ground servicing equipment, de-icing and much more.
The big advantage of this concept is that the training is not restricted to the airport environment. The classroom work and flexible jet training can be brought directly to a company facility, saving time and money.


In an industry where properly trained and qualified people are in demand and the need for companies to control their budgets and expenses is at an all time high, this portable and effective training concept maybe just what training departments have been looking for.

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