Hands-on aviation camp spurs new company

For the 11th year students attending the “Cleared For Take-Off” Aviation Education Camp at Alexandria Airport in Pittstown, N.J., spent a week in a “living laboratory” getting hands on lessons in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).

The camp’s proven curriculum is now one of the offerings of a new company, Take Flight Solutions.

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A tale of two flight schools


Flight schools — like many private buyers — are hyperfocused on, “What does an aircraft cost to operate?” Busy flight schools operating at high volume simply must track how all the pennies add up. In this post we asked US Aviation’s Scott Severen for additional info. Why US Aviation? While much of aviation has been down in the dumps, this Texas operation has been growing rapidly. Everybody is else down. They’re up. How to explain? Could it be the company’s willingness to embrace change?

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An unexpected mentor

Todd Hendrickson (left) and Jamie Beckett (right) return from yet another training flight in November 1990.

Sitting across the table from a distinguished looking airline pilot who is both youthful and highly experienced, I can’t help but reminisce about the old days. As we chatter away about scheduling, performance, weather issues, family, and mutual friends, I can’t help but remember that this is the man who taught me to fly.

It was this specific individual who introduced me to the secret of doing a decent turn-around-a-point. He walked me through hold entries and my very first ILS approach, not to mention the significantly more challenging and far less precise NDB. He even accompanied me on the trip that resulted in my multi-engine instructor certificate being issued, even if we did participate in sinking a Seminole in a mud hole in the process.

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One solution to the flight school dilemma

Flight Design CTLS

Anyone who has tried to borrow money in the last five years knows how tough it has become. Banks supported by government guarantees practically gave money away before the subprime meltdown but are now being much more careful. That’s a good thing, but it means even some credit-worthy customers can’t get the loans they need. Commonly rejected are flight schools. Flight training enterprises across the nation are struggling to obtain financing to buy new aircraft to replace aging fleets of trainers.

Despite the challenges, one LSA outfit has found at least a partial answer.

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