For nearly three quarters of a century, the Harvey family has been a household name in Snohomish County, Wash. The family began Snohomish Flying Service (SFS) in 1946, incorporating in 1950 and became the Fixed Base Operator (FBO) and flight training school of Harvey Field. Now, SFS is fourth-generation Harvey-owned and still operates out of Harvey Field, but has expanded operations to include maintenance, fuel and line services, transient aircraft accommodations and services, as well as hangar and tie down. With a fleet of 20 aircraft, SFS trains and teaches nearly 300 students at any given time.
Since the start of flight training at SFS in 1946, the company says it has had a solid relationship with the team at Textron Aviation. But it was in 1974 when the relationship truly took off. SFS became a Cessna Pilot Center (CPC).
"SFS became a CPC in 1974 for multiple reasons. Cessna has consistently built the most reliable and cost-effective flight training aircraft in the world," SFS Dispatcher Alex Keen said. "The support system in place for channel partners such as SFS within the Textron Aviation organization is superior and it cannot be matched by others. Textron Aviation consistently performs and delivers."
The relationship between the two companies led to a fleet of mostly Textron Aviation products including CESSNA CARAVAN turboprops, and a family of Cessna piston aircraft. But then, the company took things to the next level when it added a new Cessna SKYHAWK piston to the fleet.
"We are pleased to now be able to offer Technically Advanced Airplane (TAA) training. We've had students of all levels enjoy learning to fly in a G1000, and within a year of having the new Skyhawk it has already been used on every check ride from private pilot all the way to Certified Flight Instructor – Instrument (CFII)," Keen said.
Keen said while it may seem easier for a flight school to purchase a pre-owned trainer aircraft, they do not provide experience with technologically advanced systems.
"This limits a pilot's growth," he said. And for SFS, that wasn't an option.
"We believe that a new, technologically advanced aircraft has been a great benefit because it has helped us to further advance our mission of offering the most effective flight training possible to our pilots. Our students build experience and comfortability using all the features that a technologically advanced aircraft has to offer," he said. "Every student and instructor that has used the new Skyhawk has been impressed with all the bells and whistles of an all-glass panel."
"One of the greatest investments a flight school can make toward their students is investing into their aircraft."Alex Keen, Snohomish Flying Service Dispatcher
Keen said the excitement of the new aircraft was special among the flight school and it has led to consideration of investing in more G1000 aircraft. He said it's quickly becoming more in demand and the school is working to keep up.
When that time comes, Keen said the experiences and relationships built between SFS and Textron Aviation will come into play.
Keen said, "Textron Aviation provides ongoing support regarding every educational need, keeps pace with the industry and, in most cases, leads it. Cessna aircraft have built an impeccable reputation and we are very proud to be associated with Textron Aviation and its professional team."