Directional Aviation recently completed its acquisition of SimCom and has big plans for the Orlando, Florida-based aviation training provider, company chairman Kenn Ricci told AIN. Under Directional’s wing, Ricci plans three main components at SimCom: owner-pilot training, fleet-focused business aircraft training, and a pilot academy. It also later plans to expand into maintenance training, he said.
While SimCom currently is the leading provider of simulator training for the owner-pilot market, it does so at off-airport locations in Orlando and Scottsdale, Arizona. Ricci plans to move these centers to property at yet-to-be-determined airports in Florida and “possibly Arizona” to allow owner-pilots to fly and taxi up to them. Further, he envisions these centers as “social places” where pilots can visit even when not undergoing training, as well as to hold aviation safety seminars and other aviation-related events.
Meanwhile, the company plans to reconfigure its business aircraft training to cater more to fleet operators such as Directional’s Flexjet division, using a more fast-track airline training model. Under this scenario, Ricci said all ground training would be conducted online, not in the classroom, and pilots would fly 10 hours in the simulator over just three days, minimizing the time they are not flying the line.
While a location for business aircraft training has yet to be selected, Ricci noted that SimCom has put out requests for proposals to third parties for full-motion simulators that would cover Flexjet’s fleet, which includes the Embraer Phenom 300 and Legacy 450, Bombardier Challenger 300/350, and Gulfstream G450 and G650. This move, he said, would also allow Directional to better control the cost of training at Flexjet.
To address the pilot shortage, Ricci said SimCom will open a pilot academy to cultivate new aviators and provide graduates with for flow-through opportunities at Directional’s SimCom, Flexjet, Flight Options, and other divisions. He plans to offer scholarships for needy to broaden the potential pool of new pilots.