San Marcos, TX. Sep 12, 2018
Coast Flight Training and Management, Inc., a California-based company that specializes in professional pilot training, is proud to announce the opening of a new satellite training site for its Rotor Transition Program (RTP) in Ozark, Alabama, near Fort Rucker. The target date for the opening is the 29th of October.
“We are pleased to announce the expansion of our already very successful Rotor Transition Program, and our ability to increase service to our customers by bringing our product to them,” said Bryan Simmons, Coast Flight’s President and CEO. “Since we launched the very first RTP back in the summer of 2016, we have put over 325 former military helicopter pilots through transition training and into first officer training with our partner airlines.”
Coast Flight’s RTP was the first of its kind. It was conceptualized by Simmons in 2014 to address impending airline shortages. The idea was to take military helicopter pilots with commercial ratings and provide them with fixed-wing airplane certifications, as well as the flight time required to qualify them for an Airline Transport Pilot certification and type rating in a regional jet aircraft.
Dan Verda, Coast Flight’s Director of Operations for RTP, stated that “Ozark was our next logical move. There are a number of Army helicopter pilots who transition into the civilian workforce from Fort Rucker every year. This new satellite site will afford them the opportunity to work on their civilian fixed-wing ratings while they’re still on active duty, drawing a paycheck. It keeps from putting our veterans in a tight financial bind and grants them the ability to have a ‘soft landing’ into the civilian work force as an airline pilot.” When asked why Ozark in particular, Verda stated: “Ozark was a great fit because of its proximity to Fort Rucker. It has an airport that exceeds all of our needs and is primed for expansion. And the community of Ozark and the Ozark-Dale County Economic Development Corporation have been absolutely phenomenal in supporting us and getting behind this program.”
Simmons and Verda, both former military pilots themselves, both emphasized the importance of this program. “The upcoming pilot shortage is a global crisis,” stated Simmons. “We need to continue to innovate the way we do business to keep as many pilots as possible flowing to the airlines. But it’s important that we don’t sacrifice standards for numbers.” Coast Flight Training has a reputation for its high-quality aircraft, with a fleet of glass-cockpit Cessna 172 aircraft. “The G1000 navigation system in our RTP training aircraft closely resembles the type of instrumentation that students will use in the most state-of-the-art regional jets. The objective is that they not only accrue the time and certifications they need, but they also develop skills that will make them better pilots in the airlines,” stated Verda.
Coast Flight Training was established in 2008 at Montgomery Field in San Diego, California. They have partnerships with numerous regional and legacy airlines, such as American Airlines, Envoy Air, Mesa Airlines, and SkyWest Airlines, as well as several commercial corporate and logistics carriers.