Original Story from The Philippine Star, December 3, 2012
MANILA, Philippines - “Everyone can fly: Plane and simple” reads the tagline of WCC Aeronautical and Technological College, an aeronautical school that sits at the heart of Binalonan, Pangasinan, between Urdaneta and Baguio.
Few might have heard both of the WCC and fewer still of Binalonan, but the claim is definitely not simply a marketing hype, and neither just an empty promise, especially as it comes from a college that is already one of Asia’s best aviation schools.
Passion of an airman and a heart of a public servant
WCC’s Aeronautical and Technological College after all was the brainchild of 36-year-old licensed pilot and instructor Captain Ramon V. Guico, III, who at a very young age already dreamt of putting his hometown on the Philippine tourism map – and his passion for aircrafts and flying to some higher and nobler purpose. He is now the town’s mayor.
“It all started with a hobby. Even when I was young, I was already interested in planes, jets, all kinds of aircrafts. I turned that hobby into a profession right after I graduated from the University of the Philippines,” said Mayor Guico, who flew his first aircraft when he was only 23 years old.
Thus, in 2005, at the age of 29, Guico made Binalonan one of Pangasinan’s tourist drawers with the establishment of an airstrip that served as headquarters to the WCC Aviation Company and the new campus of the WCC Aeronautical School since 2008 after enrolment necessitated for a bigger and more complete facility.
Starting with only two hobby aircrafts and two students seven years ago, word spread quickly and a batch of 60 trainees from various Asean countries followed right after. Now WCC operates a fleet of 30 aircrafts of varying capacities. Even though he is a successful businessman and pilot, Guico still has a passionate heart for public service and proof of this is the improvement of Binalonan in almost all aspects of life.
“Every day, the aviation industry needs highly-trained aircraft maintenance specialists, flight attendants, and professional pilots to serve in thousands of domestic and international flights. There is a serious need for competent personnel worldwide,” said Guico, whose goal of training highly skilled pilots is addressed by having a school with a functioning airport facility and an 850-meter airstrip, “which is almost as long as the one located in Caticlan.”
“In more than five years of educating aviation professionals, we have produced 500 commercial pilots. It also goes for our flight attendants and aircraft mechanics who are now actively working in airlines.” But more than that, Guico is proud that “we now have a big influx of students from all over Asia who come to the Philippines to learn about aviation.”
Today, aside from the flagship Pilot Academy of the College of Aviation, WCC has diversified with its College of Engineering and Aviation Technology, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Tourism, and Flight Attendant Course for a complete training institute for the whole of the aviation industry’s staffing and professional needs.
The school has likewise expanded its offerings to include services for charter flights, airport operations, aircraft and parts sales, and more. “In fact, our graduates in aircraft maintenance technology are now hired in countries in Southeast Asia, Middle East and even in Africa,” Guico says.
“They don’t have to look for another place to stay in Binalonan,” Guico assured as proof of the school’s goal to become the leading aeronautical education institution, “a two-level 60-room resort-type hotel is now open for students and transients.”
“We have a number of trainer aircrafts and have dedicated all our talents, skills, and knowledge in aviation that we even created our own airline – the Sky Pasada,” he said. Top this with an Aircraft Maintenance Certification for its very own Repair Station both at its Pasay Hangar and the Binalonan Airport!
Not only does WCC offer the most complete and state-of-the-art aviation hands-on curriculum, it also assures students of the safest facilities and best instructors that trainers can get to advance in a world-class career in the aviation industry.
World-class training facilities
WCC is the first aviation school in the country to offer The Flight Navigator Trainers Procedure II in its curricular offering. More than that, it is one of only three schools that operate its own airport, airline, and MRO facilities – and the first and only school in the Philippines to operate its own airfield. At the end of the year, WCC is unveiling its Airbus A320 full flight simulator. It will have the advantage of being the only one housed near the NAIA complex, making it more accessible to other airlines with regional and domestic operations. The recently acquired multi-million worth of simulation training system developed by SIM Industries is proof of WCC’s world-class training facilities for pilots.