Moray’s new aerospace campus will receive financial support from a trust set up in memory of a man who helped pioneer aviation in Scotland.
Captain Ted Fresson set up Highland Airways in 1933, having already gained several years of experience from flying pleasure trips around the country.
These flights invariably drew large crowds of onlookers as well, which gave him confidence to set up in business.
Overnight his new airline dramatically reduced the time it took to travel between the mainland and the Northern Isles, while also avoiding the often rough conditions at sea.
The Fresson Trust has now agreed to donate £8000 a year for the next three years to the Moray Aerospace Advanced Technology and Innovation Campus (MAATIC), which is going to be built in Lossiemouth.
The cash will be used to purchase equipment for what will be known as the Fresson Suite.
This equipment will enable students to develop augmented and virtual reality projects.
The project team heading up the development of the Fresson Suite includes Professor Andrew Rae who has family connections to Highland Airways.
His grandfather was Fresson’s chief pilot in Kirkwall from 1934-37.
Professor Rae has been involved in aircraft and motorsport design for over 30 years, including projects for Airbus, Boeing and several Formula One teams.
He said: “Ted Fresson was a true pioneer, bringing new technology and new opportunities to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.
David Patterson, Moray College’s principal, stated that he was delighted to receive the support of the Fresson Trust.
He said: “Captain Ted Fresson was an aviation pioneer not only in Scotland, but specifically in this region.
“It’s highly appropriate the trust has chosen to donate to the MAATIC.
“The project will both deliver new ways of supporting skills development for the aviation industry and also undertake research to achieve our region’s desire for zero net carbon air travel.”
Grenville Johnston, a former Lord Lieutenant of Moray, chairs the Fresson Trust.
Speaking about the MAATIC, he said: “The establishment of such a facility here will bring the focus on science and technology, and specifically aviation, right into the heart of where Captain Ted Fresson undertook his pioneering aviation career in the early 20th Century.
“We hope his legacy will inspire a new generation of students to fulfill rewarding careers in aviation and technology.”
Initially the Fresson suite will be located at the main Moray College campus until the MAATIC building is complete.
It will then relocate to the site in Lossiemouth.
The Fresson Trust also hope to continue the partnership through the gifting of scholarships to students.
It is being proposed that the MAATIC will have two main arms – the aviation academy and the advanced technologies institute.
The Aviation Academy will look to attract apprentices and independent and commercial students from across the UK and overseas.
It will house an air-worthy Boeing 737 and deliver training in engineering, maintenance, and air crewing.
Its aim is to provide the skills for and meet the needs of aviation and aerospace industries based in Moray.
Meanwhile, the advanced technologies institute will provide training and research in engineering, digital technology and advanced manufacturing.
Its aim is to work in tandem with businesses, taking advantage of potential innovations in the space industry, alternatively-fuelled aircraft and industrial drone technology.
The Matic is being built with the UK Government’s part of the Moray Growth Deal, which has also received financial backing from Holyrood
Iain Stewart, the Minister for Scotland, said: “Fresson Trust’s support is a very welcome boost to the prestige of the MAATIC and will help to equip its cutting-edge learning facilities.
“The UK Government has committed up to £21 million to establish the MAATIC which will teach valuable skills in a growing industry and attract new jobs and businesses to the area.”