CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The future of aviation training and research is coming to western Massachusetts.

Governor Charlie Baker joined other government officials and UMass representatives for a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Westover Metropolitan Airport in Chicopee, the UMass Amherst Aviation and Training Center.

“This aviation announcement today is superb,” said Congressman Richard Neal.

This $4.75 million state funded effort will address the needs of future air transportation. Local representatives are excited for the educational addition to the community.

“About drones and counter UAS. I think that’s going to be one of the most important things confronting Massachusetts and the nation going forward,” said Westfield State Senator John Velis.

The facility will be used conduct research and train aviation professionals, which is now more important than ever.

UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy told 22News, “Given already the shortage we have in this country of air traffic controllers, this training facility and the research that will be done, particularly for the new types of vehicles that will be used, I think is really important both for our students, for western Mass and for the country as a whole.”

One of the most advanced sections of the facility features a 360-degree 3-D air traffic control tower simulator. This will be used for advanced research purposes and for the training and certification of air traffic controllers.