New Motlow Aviation Director Takes Flight

Motlow State’s Aviation Simulation Lab in Shelbyville, TN, is under new leadership. Aviation Director James “Jake” Washburn has decades of experience and is excited to share his love of flying with those interested in obtaining pilot credentials.

Washburn worked in healthcare for 20 years and started flying in 1995 as a private pilot. He is a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) as well as a Certified Flight Instructor for Instrument Training (CFII). He also has an Air Transport Pilot (ATP) credential, which allowed him to fly for American Airlines after he left the healthcare field a few years ago. He now flies with a local carrier in addition to his new role at Motlow.

Anyone 15 and older is welcome to visit Motlow’s Aviation Simulation Lab to train for a pilot’s license or for a higher pilot credential. The Lab possesses three Red Bird flight simulators, two of them being Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved and can count toward the number of hours necessary to obtain a license. Motlow’s Lab is associated with Tennessee Flight Training (TFT), which trains flight students through five airports throughout the state. TFT instructors provide the equipment and guidance necessary to help those who train at Motlow’s Lab to begin flying aircraft.

The intention of Motlow’s Simulation Lab is to help trainees obtain the number of training hours necessary to sit for the pilot’s exam. The simulators can replicate the experience of landing or flying in various settings so that pilots can prepare for any situation in a safe environment. The Lab also significantly lowers the cost for trainees to gain the flight experience they need through reducing the number of visits required at the TFT centers. This makes obtaining a pilot’s license more accessible and a more practical option for anyone looking for a high-paying, secure career that is attainable with or without a college degree.

According to Washburn, “We are reaching out to communities who are not traditionally exposed to aviation to make this opportunity accessible to all. We also encourage Veterans who are searching for a new career to visit the Lab and learn about how piloting could work for them. Flying is a trade that we want more people to be able to access, which is why we are working to remove financial and training barriers.”

To schedule a training session, email aviationlab@mscc.edu or call 615-594-1987. Local high schools are welcome to schedule tours for their sophomore through senior students. Because of the partnership with Tennessee Flight Training, interested parties can also reach out to TFT at 615-366-9192. Motlow’s Aviation Simulation Lab is located at 200 Dover Street, Shelbyville, TN, 37160.

Pictured: Washburn (left) giving a lesson about aircraft.

Lucky Knott

Lucky Knott

One of Southern Tennessee's most experienced and recognized news broadcasters and play-by-play sportscasters. News and Sports Director for Rooster 101.5 FM, 93.9 The Duck and Whiskey Country 105.1, and 95.9. He is currently the play-by-play voice of the Coffee County Red Raiders (31 years) on The Rooster 101.5 and can be heard M-F broadcasting our local news. Lucky has done play-by-play for 4,002 (and counting) sports events on Radio & TV. He also served four years as the Public Information Officer for the Coffee Co. Sheriff's Dept. and taught Radio/TV for six years at Grundy County High School.

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