After more than 30 years, Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C., decided to phase out its aviation program. That led three instructors in the program to create USAeroGroup to take over the college’s aircraft maintenance and aviation training programs as an independent business.
The founders of USAeroFlight inked agreements with BJU and North Greenville University for pilot training that grants college credit, while the FAA is in the process of transferring the university’s Part 141 flight school certificate and curriculum into the name of USAeroFlight.
The company also has inked an agreement with Stratos Aviation at Greenville Downtown Airport (GMU), where both are based.
“The market we were missing was the non-academic, public sector business clients,” stated Brett Zukowski, part owner of USAeroTech Institute and USAeroFlight.
This brought them to one of their past students and owner of Stratos Aviation, Dimitri Partafyllas.
“The goal is to eventually completely merge our companies,” he said.
“Until that occurs, both companies students will enjoy access to a combined larger fleet of various aircraft (Diamond 20, Diamond 40 aircraft with modern Garmin 430 GPS and G-1000 avionics, as well as a Cessna 172 RG, Piper Aztec and a Piper Warrior) for training or rental, many educational tools, like a flight simulator, and a more diverse group of experienced instructors, then they would have had training with either company alone,” stated Partafyllas.
“USAeroFlight or BJU has never had an office in the main terminal, offered aircraft for rent or Discovery Flights. We are happy to now offer these services to our clients,” Zukowski added.
Among the instructors at USAeroFlight are Thomas Allen Burke, the first Greenville resident to earn the FAA’s Wright Brothers’ Master Pilot Award. Since 1990 Burke has served as a Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) in South Carolina. Another USAeroFlight teacher is Cecil Tune, whose 50 plus years of service to the aviation industry was recently recognized by the naming of an award after him by the South Carolina Aviation Safety Council.
The company also includes USAeroTech, which took over the former BJU Aircraft Maintenance Training Program. This one-year accelerated aircraft maintenance training program was later the recipient of a FedEx donated Boeing 727, given to provide hands-on training to the next generation of aircraft technicians.