Sundance Helicopters, Inc. has launched the Skypath Pilot Program in conjunction with flight academy partner, Leading Edge Aviation Inc., the exclusive flight provider for Central Oregon Community College (COCC). The program not only helps define a sure pathway to the professional and personal success of future aviators, but also ensures a consistent, efficient, and effective pipeline for Sundance Helicopters and our industry partners to secure operationally-ready and highly-qualified helicopter pilots.
“We want to focus on hiring the best and most qualified candidates with our core values in mind,” said Mark Schaefli, director of operations for Sundance Helicopters. “This program allows us to actively participate in the process of training and development for future pilot candidates from the beginning of their career. SkyPath is designed to elevate the standards and provide pilots with the professional development needed to reach those standards. The program will emphasize safety, experience and mentoring to provide aviators with tangible results versus traditional flight hour based models. For those interested in a career as a helicopter pilot, this program removes barriers and paves a path to the end goal.”
Through the Skypath approach, a pilot candidate would apply for the program via select 141 partner flight schools such as Leading Edge Aviation. As the pilot progresses through ratings, they are evaluated for their performance. The second phase of the program begins once a pilot candidate has earned their commercial pilot certificate. At this stage, the pilot candidate is interviewed by a panel of evaluators from both Sundance Helicopters and the Flight Academy and accepted into the program.
Once accepted, the pilot candidate continues through the remaining ratings at the flight academy and eventually progresses into the instructional phase as a Certified Flight Instructor. After a period of dual given and once the Part 135 minimums are met, he or she will be eligible for a guaranteed interview with Sundance Helicopters. Successful completion of the program, the required experience and the interview will guarantee the pilot candidate a training slot during the hiring season.
Future plans for the program include an Initial Operating Experience phase, which will provide advanced training and mentoring that results in career path acceleration while adding additional layers of safety, training and mentoring.
These steps will ensure that Sundance Helicopters has actively taken a role in the development and training of pilots from the very beginning of their careers, instilling Sundance Helicopters’ benchmarks of safety, experience and customer service.
SkyPath Pilot Program graduates will gain valuable experience flying with Sundance Helicopters. The program has also secured participation from other helicopter industry segments to provide SkyPath pilots with additional opportunities as their experience grows. For those interested in Helicopter Air Ambulance (HAA) there is a pathway to Air Methods Corporation, the largest operator of air medical transport in the world. For pilots with utility work as a career goal, we are proud to announce that Redding Air Service, a trusted provider of utility services since 1957 will be one of our partners and participants in the program.
“We are incredibly excited for this partnership with Sundance Helicopters as it offers an unparalleled opportunity to our students and instructors, paving a direct path into commercial helicopter operations with a company that shares our same standards for safety and quality. This is the first partnership of its kind, which we feel is key to advancing the aviation industry, and we could not be prouder to be a part of it,” said Brad Fraley, President of Leading Edge Aviation, Inc. “We look forward to being the first to initiate this partnership.”