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Canadian Flight Centre’s new hangar is solar-powered

When the building is generating more electricity than it is using, the excess will flow out to the grid to be stored for a credit

The Canadian Flight Centre (CFC) at Kamloops Airport has added a 10,000-square-foot carbon-neutral air hangar to its operations, with a goal of establishing a hub for electric planes.

A June 24 grand opening of the new facility was held at the flight school, which is at 3073 Airport Rd. Prior to building the hangar, CFC stored its planes outdoors and operated out of a house on the property.

CFC chief executive officer Peter Schlieck told KTW the company built the hangar to get the planes out of the winter cold, which will save time from having to de-ice the aircraft.

“Now we have a heated hangar and that’s a big shift,” Schlieck said.

The hangar is used for flight training, aircraft parking and aircraft maintenance. Aside from hangar space, it also includes offices, classrooms, a flight simulator and additional room for future expansion.

Schlieck said the aviation industry has a large carbon footprint, which is something the company wanted to get away from with the hangar, which has 6,000 square feet of solar panels, which are capable of charging electric aircraft, offering an environmentally sustainable alternative once electric aircraft are popularized in Canada.

Schlieck said he wants to see Kamloops become a “hub of electric flight.”

Ben Giudici, co-owner of Riverside Energy, which designed the solar system for the hangar, said it is estimated the solar panels will supply about 40 per cent of the hangar’s annual energy needs. But, Giudici added, it is also tied into the grid, meaning when the sun isn’t enough, the shortfall flows in from the grid to fill the gap.

When the building is generating more electricity than it is using, the excess will flow out to the grid to be stored for a credit, Giudici said.

The project began two years ago and CFC was granted occupancy of the building earlier this month. Schlieck said the hangar cost $2 million to construct and is secured with a 50-year lease on the property.

“We wanted to create a place where aviation meets environment, while at the same time creating the first electric aviation hubs where pilots can land and charge their planes. This is an essential requirement for the expansion of electric flight,” Schlieck said.

In addition to making the school more independent of weather conditions, the hangar will allow CFC to triple its capacity of students, as well as the number and planes stored there.

“In the past, we had three, four planes here. We can easily put a dozen planes here,” Schlieck said

CFC offers aviation programs and certifications, from private pilot licences to airline pilot diplomas.

The school offers a diverse fleet of small aircraft and has operated in Kamloops the past 10 years. The Canadian Flight Centre also operates in Pitt Meadows.