All of aviation is abuzz over the clear need for pilots. Boeing’s 2019 forecast numbers call for 804,000 new pilot positions required within the next 20 years—more than 40,000 per year.
Phoenix East Aviation (PEA) in Daytona Beach, Florida, (Booth 5014) has been providing training since 1972 and now spans from ab initio through airline transport pilot. More than 12,000 graduates are now flying better than 30,000 hours per year, worldwide.
PEA is here at Labace for good reason. The school is approved by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to issue not only F-1 student visas (form I-20), but also the more difficult to obtain M-1 visa for those who pass a DHS check. It is not legal to take flight training in the U.S. on a tourist visa.
The school uses Cessna 172SP single-engine primary trainers and Diamond DA42 twins, both equipped with Garmin G1000 glass-panel avionics. According to PEA, students can earn their commercial pilot’s certificate in as little as 50 days. And with an added certified flight instructor (CFI) rating, there are opportunities to build time by becoming an instructor at PEA, where it is possible to log as much as 100 hours’ experience per month. The school’s instructor corps includes a mix of ex-military and civil pilots as well.
In addition to the Cessnas and Diamonds, PEA offers time in its American Champion Super Decathlon aerobatic trainer. The curriculum includes an upset prevention and recovery training (UPRT) segment, designed to enable students to explore all the axes of flight, including spins, rolls and inverted flight. Upset recovery has become a prime focus in pilot training, as loss of control inflight (LOC-I) has been identified as one of the leading causes of accidents.
Finally, the program makes extensive use of Redbird flight simulators, increasing the cost efficiency of the training and enabling the 50-plus instructors to expose students to situations that would be too dangerous or impractical to perform in a real airplane.