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Coast Flight Training is expanding from its San Diego headquarters to establish a second location for its airline flight training program in San Marcos, TX.

The new training facilities in San Marcos will focus on training U. S. Military helicopter pilots who are transitioning to in-demand careers as civilian airline pilots for the nation’s top airlines.

The U.S. airline industry is facing a critical shortage of pilots, with more than 617,000 trained pilots needed by 2035 according to studies by Boeing. Pilots earn an average of $58,000 starting salary, plus benefits including travel, climbing to more than $100,000 annually after a few years in the industry, and potentially exceeding $300,000 annually during a career.

“We are very pleased to be opening a Coast location in San Marcos, where we have been welcomed with open arms by the City, Greater San Marcos Partnership, and in particular Texas Aviation Partners. They created a very positive business environment for us to invest here, create jobs, and help veterans achieve great success for themselves and their families,” said Bryan Simmons, President of Coast Flight Training. A retired United States Marine and military flight instructor, Simmons served as Presidential Command pilot for two U. S. Presidents.

“Coast Flight’s choice of San Marcos shows the true value of our airport in our economic development effort,” said City Councilman and Airport Board Chairman, Scott Gregson. “Increased utilization of our facility and being involved with re-training our veterans to help solve a critical shortage of pilots is a

“Increased utilization of our facility and being involved with re-training our veterans to help solve a critical shortage of pilots is a win-win for everyone.”

Partnering with Envoy Air/American Airlines Group, Coast Flight Training instructors will launch the first Rotary Transition Program (RTP) class in San Marcos in early 2017, providing complete transition training of Helicopter pilots to meet FAA fixed wing requirements, along with a conditional offer of employment with Envoy/American Airlines upon successful completion of training and certification. “Envoy Air is proud to team with Coast to launch this new program in Texas, and to promote commercial aviation as a rewarding career for our U. S. Military Veterans. Coast Flight offers outstanding training and produces

“Envoy Air is proud to team with Coast to launch this new program in Texas, and to promote commercial aviation as a rewarding career for our U. S. Military Veterans. Coast Flight offers outstanding training and produces well-qualified pilots that are ready to join the Envoy/American Airlines Group team, and we welcome them to Texas,” said Ric Wilson, Vice President Flight Operations, Envoy Air.

The RTP is specifically designed to meet the needs of experienced helicopter pilots, who already have valuable skills that can quickly translate to civilian employment. After approximately 90 days of training, pilots will join the Envoy/American Airlines team, which is making the RTP possible for Veterans by providing tuition assistance and a generous hiring bonus.

Coast Flight, founded in 2008 has been one of San Diego’s fastest growing companies, three years running. Coast is a FAA Part-141 flight school and is TSA and SEVP approved to host international students. Coast is also an acknowledged leader in Cirrus training and has been designated by Cirrus Aircraft as a Cirrus Platinum Training Center.

San Diego, CA – Coast Flight Training is expanding from its San Diego headquarters to establish a second location for its airline flight training program in San Marcos, TX. The new training facilities in San Marcos will focus on training U. S. Military helicopter pilots who are transitioning to in-demand careers as civilian airline pilots for the nation’s top airlines.

San Diego, CA – Coast Flight Training and Envoy Air/American Airlines Group are hosting a free Aviation Career Day on Saturday, November 12, Noon to 4 pm, at Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport and teaming up to provide scholarship opportunities for high school seniors and recent graduates with a passion for flight. The U.S. airline industry is facing a critical shortage of trained airline pilots, with more than 600,000 trained pilots needed by 2035 according to studies by Boeing. Pilots earn an average of $58,000 starting salary, plus benefits including travel, climbing to more than $100,000 annually after a few years in the industry, and potentially exceeding $300,000 annually during a career.

To help young adults pursue these in-demand jobs, Envoy Air/American Airlines Group and Coast Flight Training will provide 15 students with full scholarships for 30 hours of Ground School at Montgomery Field in Spring 2017. One successful Ground School graduate will earn a full tuition Grand Scholarship for a complete FAA-certified Private Pilot, Instrument, Commercial and Certified Flight Instructor Ratings, along with a conditional offer of employment from Envoy/American Airlines Group upon successful completion of training and certification (Grand Scholarship is valued at over $73,000).”Envoy Air is proud to support Aviation Career Day which will educate and promote aviation as a rewarding and attainable career. We are excited to partner in the scholarship and look forward to the recipient becoming an Envoy Air pilot,” said Ric Wilson, Vice President of Flight Operation, Envoy Air.

Scholarship applications for Ground School will be available at Aviation Career Day, which will feature the opportunity to sit in the cockpits of Coast aircraft, experience flight simulators, talk with pilots, flight instructors, and enjoy refreshments at the airfield. Register at www.iflycoast.com/career-day to attend and pick up a scholarship application at the event. “I applaud American Airlines, Envoy, and Coast Flight for taking a pro-active approach and looking locally to meet the needs of the innovative airline industry,” said Chris Cate, San Diego City Councilmember in District 6, the home of the City’s Montgomery-Gibbs airfield and many aviation industry businesses. “Coast is excited about introducing talented young people to the potential careers and pathways to train for these high paying and rewarding careers – which do not require a four year college degree,” said Bryan Simmons, President of Coast Flight Training. A retired United States Marine and military flight instructor, Simmons served as Presidential Command pilot for two U. S. Presidents.

New Hire Starting Pay Up 47% – Retention Bonuses Extended to All Pilots

Envoy Air, a subsidiary of American Airlines Group, will be nearly doubling the starting pay for new pilot hires! At about $38 per hour, a First Year Pilot can now make $58,000 or more, a dramatic increase to help bring in the next wave of Airline Pilots. Adding to the new incentive program is a First Officer Retention Bonus of $20,000 and a $5,000 bonus per pilot you refer.

Ric Wilson, the VP of Flight Operations summarized “Envoy’s new industry-leading starting pay – along with our up to $20,000 signing bonus, $20,000 First Officer retention bonus and guaranteed flow-through to American Airlines, without any further interview – means our pilots will be among the most highly compensated in the industry now and throughout their flying career.”

The award was given by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s (AOPA) Air Safety Institute (ASI). George Perry, ASI’s Senior Vice President, commented, “Over the past decade Cirrus has earned one of the best safety records in the industry, and we are proud to acknowledge their work.” He also shared that in working openly with its owners group, Cirrus has “brought their accident rate to less than half the
industry average.”

While Cirrus is now known for their safety via the Cirrus Airframe
Parachute System (CAPS) and Cirrus Approach systems, that has not always been the case.

The CAPS was put into place in the Cirrus SR20 and SR220 aircrafts
several years ago as a result of frighteningly high accident rates for the two aircrafts. It was revolutionizing technology, and Cirrus thought that by adding the whole frame parachute, they would be able to save far more lives.

They were right! As a result of the CAPS system, over 135 lives have been saved to date. However, this didn’t come without a huge effort on Cirrus’ side to educate its pilots.

When CAPS was first put into place, it was speculated that there was a spike in Cirrus accidents because Pilots felt more comfortable knowing they had the parachute system if anything should happen. But, as Cirrus discovered, there was a lack of knowledge regarding how to use the CAPS, which didn’t have the results Cirrus was hoping for.

After recognizing the new statistics, Cirrus knew they had to do what they could to educate pilots. The Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association worked diligently to create a system of encouraging CAPS use and celebrating pilots for using the technology, rather than questioning them every time. Additionally, Cirrus created the ‘Cirrus Approach’ safety program to integrate safety and CAPS procedures into regular Cirrus training.

As a result of the Cirrus Approach, the aircraft industry saw the decline in fatal accidents each year steadily increase. The height of the accident peak was in 2011, with 16 fatal accidents in SR20s and SR22s. By 2014, the number of fatal crashes decreased to three, which is remarkable considering the spike in Cirrus Aircraft use.

The Cirrus Approach system of encouraging pilots to “pull early, pull often” has helped the world to see the safety precautions put in place. In 2015 Cirrus’ CAPS was publicized when a pilot flying his SR22 over the Pacific Ocean was filmed using it. The pilot realized mid flight that there was a fuel tank issue, and he would have to utilize CAPS in the middle of the water. The U.S. Coast Guard caught the incident on camera, and the Cirrus Approach was proven beneficial.

The world saw CAPS in action again just months later when Bill Simon, the CEO of Wal-Mart, and two passengers were forced to deploy the parachute after losing oil pressure. This too was captured and quickly spread on social media.

These widespread CAPS success stories are just two of the numerous incidents in which the system has saved lives. By constantly placing safety at the forefront of design, and regularly training pilots, Cirrus has been able to lower the number of aircraft fatalities exponentially.

Cirrus is proud to be the first recipient of the Joseph T. Nall Safety Award, and looks forward to continuing to work on safety and innovation for the aircraft industry.

Coast Flight’s Airline Career Training (ACT) Program has been rapidly growing in size since its inception in August 2014. The ACT program currently has 120 actively training students, and is excited to welcome another 15 who will start in late February. The program offers participants the opportunity to earn an accredited, FAA-approved Associate’s Degree from Indian Hills Community College. Indian Hills has been ranked in the top 10 percent of community colleges in the nation, and offers online courses for ACT students to take classes while flight training in beautiful San Diego, CA.

The degree in Aviation Pilot Training can be completed while students are building their hours for their next flight rating. Once students have completed the required flight ratings, they may work as a Commercial Pilot with one of our airline partners, and continue to finish their studies online from wherever their flights may take them.

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ACT student Danny Perez shared, “This offer allows us the opportunity to gain a degree and flight train at the same time, which makes the process of obtaining a job in the airline industry much quicker. The online classes make it easy for me to keep my daily schedule and study around it. ACT has also made it easy to meet and fly with my peers. Indian Hills Community College is constantly ranked amongst the top community colleges in the nation, which lets me know I am getting a great education while I train.”

When the ACT program was first introduced, Coast was quick to make sure that they not only had a college partner to offer an online degree, but also airline partners who would help students make connections and jumpstart their careers in the airline industry. Coast has two partner airlines who allow students to join pipeline programs to becoming airline pilots. SkyWest Airlines has given all ACT students a conditional offer of employment prior to flight training in the ACT Program. Envoy Air, an American Airlines subsidiary, holds interviews with ACT students upon completion of their Instrument Rating certificate. If an ACT student is selected by Envoy, they will have a guaranteed position as a pilot at American Airlines.

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Will Dryden founded Coast Flight in 2008 and shared, “When I started the company, I always knew that combining professionalism and fun would result in the best pilots. Our job was to encourage each student’s passion for aviation to surface while we molded the best professional aviators! The idea was Over 120 Students Enrolled in ACT always to help people realize their passion for flight and start exploring the sky. We now have partnerships with two of the largest regional airlines in the United States, who represent almost 6,000 pilots, and a top rated school, which I could not be more excited about.”

The ACT Program also offers incentives for veterans, accepting up to 100% coverage for the program costs from the Post-9/11 GI Bill after Private Pilot. If students don’t have military benefits, they can get up to 100% financing and have advisors to help figure out how to make their dreams a reality.

“The ACT Program is a truly unique opportunity for our students.” added Coast’s President, Bryan Simmons, “They can get a job offer before ever starting flight training. Students also have the ability to expedite their training and degree, and get to live in the best city for flight training. Sunny San Diego allows our students to train on a more regular basis, which helps get them their ratings faster. The ultimate goal is to help them reach a career as an airline pilot, and we are happy to see that this goal is being achieved with over 120 students now in the program and well on their way to professional pilot careers.”

Pictured: Coast CFI Kristen Verdi now flying for SkyWest Airlines!

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OTTUMWA — The Indian Hills Aviation Pilot Training Program is really taking off.

Wednesday morning, eight students enrolled in the Airline Career Training (ACT) Program received a conditional employment agreement with SkyWest Airlines after they finish their Associate of Applied Science degree.

This means that as long as students complete their program, with enough hours and flight experience, they will automatically be offered a position as a first officer at the airlines, based in San Diego, California.

“It’s basically like a gift card,” said Darren Graham, director of aviation programs and chief flight instructor at Indian Hills. “We give this to them as they go through training, and they don’t have to use it if they don’t want to, but it’s a great for students, and many are focused on going there right after the program.”

The applicants have had lots of training and interview practice up to this point. On Saturday, recruiters from SkyWest conducted interviews with the potential students. They awarded conditional job offers to students with outstanding interviews, high test scores and other criteria.

Graham believes this partnership with SkyWest is extremely valuable.

“We hope this program will attract new students to the industry; just like in any field, students go through all of the training then get experience, but when it’s time to interview, 50 percent don’t get hired,” said Graham. “We want to change that.”

This is the first year that the ACT program has been on the Indian Hills campus. ACT started a year prior via the Coast Flight Training in San Diego.

Graham thinks this program will bring a new sense of professionalism to the aviation program.

“This will raise the bar for our program — it’ll bring a whole new level of professionalism and safety — students are not only representing themselves and Indian Hills but they will be a representative of SkyWest Airlines and the ACT program,” said Graham.

Thatcher Carel, Kasey Murphy, Luis Zelaya, Brennan Parker, Levi Riddick, Aaron Riche, Tim Menninga and Robert Dodd were all conditionally given offers through the program.

Indian Hills flight instructor Michael O’Connor was conditionally accepted into the SkyWest Bridge program. The purpose of this program is to help bridge the gap between completion of CFI certification and building the minimum ATP qualifications as a pilot at SkyWest Airlines.

The SkyWest aircraft participants will fly 65-80 people. For more information on the ACT program, contact Graham at 641-683-4254.

An instrument rating is an advanced type of aviation certification enabling pilots to fly rather than be grounded even during cloudy weather and other weather conditions that cause low visibility. The Instrument Flight Rules Rating (IFR) training requirements include 30 hours of pre and post flight ground school, 40 hours of instrument flight training, 50 hours of PIC Cross-Country, and the successful completion of an instrument written exam. It is an excellent addition to a private pilot’s certificate, which by itself leaves the pilot limited to flying only during Visual Flight Rules (VFR) conditions. Aside from the obvious, though, there are many additional advantages that come with an instrument rating. Here are seven good reasons why an instrument rating ultimately makes for a better pilot:
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1) Better Planning Pre-Flight

It’s typically true that a pilot with an instrument rating will be better at pre-flight planning than a pilot without an instrument rating. The training prepares pilots for alternates, deviations, hazards, fuel stops, and more.

2) Heightened Pilot’s Intuition
Pilots with an instrument rating also tend to be more forward-thinking, as opposed to less skilled pilots who are always in the present moment. Being a couple steps ahead, with split-second reaction times, is always a good thing in the sky.

3) IMC Flight Preparation
Flying inadvertently into Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) can be tricky, but with an instrument rating pilots are better prepared for the unexpected limitations to their visibility due to unpredictable weather and clouds.

4) Improved Accuracy
Pilots with an instrument rating are known to possess an improved level of accuracy because IFR training gives pilots an opportunity to learn more precise flying techniques in terms of power changes, pitch, heading, altitude, and airspeed.

5) More Instrument Knowledge
Completing IFR training provides pilots with a more in-depth knowledge of the instruments and other technology in their aircraft as well, which makes them a superior pilot in a variety of circumstances.

6) Weather Predictions Become 2nd Nature
Pilots tend to improve their ability to notice and predict weather conditions once they’ve gotten an instrument rating. The required training includes a heavy focus on the ins and outs of weather reporting and weather theory, as well as exercises to build specific skills such as recognizing frontal passages, ice, thunderstorms, and more.

7) You’ll be a Traffic Pro
And finally, once you have finished your IFR training, you will also improve your ability to find nearby traffic with a high level of accuracy and understanding of the leading pilot reporting terminology.

If you’re ready to get an instrument rating in addition to your private pilot’s license, there is no time like the present. Coast Flight offers an Instrument Flight Rules Rating Program that prepares private pilots for clouds and other bad weather in an accelerated format. Pilots build their confidence in a complex and busy airspace and are only certified when they have reached an airline-standard of skill for flying in little (or no) visibility. After getting an instrument rating, pilots are also qualified to begin a commercial pilot’s certification program.

From smartphones and laptops to e-readers and tablets, personal computing devices are more advanced than ever, with applications that can do practically anything – including apps that make flying safer, simpler, and more convenient for pilots. There are even applications that help pilots to connect with other pilots. If you’re curious which applications are most useful for pilots, look no further. The following list covers the top 10 apps ever pilot needs to know about.

1. AeroWeather Pro

1) AeroWeather Pro


This app by Lakehorn AG allows pilots to check weather conditions and forecasts at their destination prior to takeoff. You can see everything from visibility to wind speed to runway conditions in one place.

2. Air Navigation Pro

2) Air Navigation Pro


Xample Sarl developed this app to assist pilots in their efforts to plan a flight with an interface that looks and feels like the instruments of a cockpit.

3. Airports

3) Airports


Peter Lundkvist developed this application to give pilots everything they need to know about their destination airports before taking off, including NOTAMs, runway data, weather conditions, and more.

4. CloudAhoy

4) CloudAhoy


This app from CloudAhoy, Inc. allows pilots to use the GPS receiver on their iPad to record flights and retrieve the data later on from any location. It’s the ultimate debriefing app.

5. FAA Airplane Flying Manual

5) FAA Airplane Flying Manual


Insomniac Industries put the most pertinent information from the FAA Flying Manual in one place so pilots are set up for a safe trip every time. This free app is an excellent refresher when pilots forget emergency procedures and other information in the rush of the flight.

 6) FBO Fuel Prices

6. FBO Fuel Prices

The team at GlobalAir .com developed an app that makes it easy for pilots to check the latest FBO fuel prices and ramp fee information before heading to their destination and fueling up. The app was developed to work in-flight or in Airplane Mode.

7. FlightPlan

7) FlightPlan


Jeff Cardillo’s FlightPlan – Pilot’s Toolbox tak es the guesswork out of common calculations with everything from weight and balance calculators to conversion calculators to a cutting-edge E6B slide rule computer, making calculating simple.

8. LogTen Pro X

8) LogTen Pro X:
the Pilot Logbook

Coradine Aviation Systems developed a logbook replacement app that some say is one of the greatest applications for pilots on the market today. Now those bulky, old, hard-to-use logbooks are a thing of the past.

9. WnB Pro

9) WnB Pro


This application from Angell Development LLC is the go-to tool for weight and balance calculations. Pilots receive an accurate weight and balance calculation for their exact aircraft and a warning if the inputted baggage, fuel, and passenger weights are out of the safe range.

10. Spin-A-Wind

10) Spin-a-Wind


Last but not least, this app from Len Robinson goes above and beyond the basic weather conditions to provide pilots with a more accurate picture of the crosswind, headwind, tailwind, and other conditions at the destination runway and its surrounding area.

Pilots are relying on apps to do everything in this day and age: charting their routes, viewing the pertinent weather maps, completing safety checklists, getting help with navigating, and much more. From a technology standpoint, there’s never been a better time to be a pilot.

New data reveals that a young American pilot starting out in today’s market can potentially earn $7 million over the next 44 years, assuming they make the right career moves along the way. Coast Flight projects that a 21-year-old aviator starting out as a flight instructor, following the school’s Airline Career Training (ACT) program, may be able to earn $7 million by the time they’re 65, assuming they follow the suggested path to a position as Captain for a major airline. Of course, salaries for airline pilots can vary widely based on factors such as experience, schooling, and the airline they are working for. When you look at the facts, though, there’s no denying that career aviators stand to earn a great deal of money in a job they love if they can go the distance. In the following post, we explain more about how pilots are paid, and how to get the most out of this rewarding career.

Encouraging Projections from Delta and SkyWest

Coast Flight’s Airline Career Training program is unique because it provides conditional job placement at SkyWest Airlines for the elite student pilots accepted into its ranks. According to PilotJobs.com, a First Officer at SkyWest Airlines may earn approximately $28,400 their first year, but by their fifth year they could be earning as much as $48,880. And if they are promoted to Captain in their sixth year, they could see this salary increase to as much as $81,520, which will continue increasing exponentially as their career advances. Moving on to a major airline such as Delta is recommended, though. Starting pay for a Delta Airlines 737-800 Pilot is $66,000. Upon promotion to Captain, though, Delta pilots earn a starting pay of $189,000. The top pay for a Delta Airlines Captain is approximately $205,000, but those flying a Boeing 777 can potentially earn $298,500 per year plus bonuses, or as much as $350,000 in one year.

Airline Pilot Career Earnings 2015

Going the Distance Pays Off

These figures may seem confusing, and if you’ve tried to do your own research on aviation salaries, you may be even more confused, as starting and ending pay for airline pilots varies so much. Each company pays its pilots differently, and since pilots are paid hourly the salary depends on how many hours one works in a year. There are wide variances between the pay for regional airline pilots and the pay for major airline pilots as well. According to figures from The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for airline pilots is $114,200, but starting pay for a regional airline First Officer could be as little as $28,000, while ending pay for a major airline Captain could be several hundred thousand per year. What this shows, however, is that going the distance pays off in the field of commercial aviation. Airline pilots have the potential to earn some of the top salaries in today’s job market, but it takes a few years to get there.

A Suggested Path for Career Pilots

Coast Flight’s ACT program is designed to give graduates a clear path to a career as an airline pilot, with job placement at regional SkyWest Airlines following the completion of their training in school and job experience as a flight instructor. After two years in flight instruction, pilots are ready to begin their placement as a First Officer for SkyWest Airlines. Three years later, the same pilot should be qualified to move up to a position of Captain for SkyWest. Ultimately, however, a pilot must take their years of experience at a regional airline to a position at a major airline to make the most out of this career. So, pilots are encouraged to move on to a position of First Officer for Coast’s partners at Delta Airlines by the end of their first decade in the field, which could potentially translate to a position as a Delta Airlines Captain some eight or so years later.

It all depends on the skill, discipline, hard work, and tenacity of the pilot, of course. But assuming that you have what it takes, you could start out making less than $30,000 a year as a flight instructor and end up making well over $200,000 a year by the time you retire from a major airline.