Top Hawk is leading the way for aviation programs to continue training the next generation of pilots. Top Hawk is a partnership between Textron Aviation and top aviation schools to provide students with access to the world’s most popular trainer, the Cessna® Skyhawk®.
Select universities and Cessna Pilot Centers will participate in Top Hawk to promote general aviation and connect future pilots to higher education. They will receive a factory new, custom branded Cessna Skyhawk to use for the duration of the program to promote aviation at air shows, aviation contests, and recruiting events. Top Hawk aircraft also allow schools to showcase their connection to Textron Aviation’s reputable internship program and support discovery flights and learn to fly programs.
Congratulations to Snohomish Flying Service, J.A. Air Center, Academby of Aviation and Atlas Aviation , who are participating in the 2020 Top Hawk program to promote general aviation and connect future pilots to higher education!
Academy of Aviation
The Academy of Aviation was founded in 1998 based on innovation, quality and personal attention to the student customer’s needs. This kind of approach to the flight training business ignited the customer’s passion and quickly led to growth.
The growth created demand for more equipment and professional instructors. The years passed with the Academy offering more and more FAA Part 61 instruction. In 2009, the Academy of Aviation sought and earned FAA certification under Part 141 regulations for flight instruction. This certification allowed the Academy to expand into additional markets, earn approval from the Department of Veterans Affairs, attract new students and highlight the dedication to quality the Academy always used as its baseline.
In 2016, the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and College named the Academy of Aviation as an accredited school, increasing the professionalism of the Academy’s pilot training. The Academy has grown into three locations, including two in Metro New York and one in Charlotte, NC. Today, the school operates a fleet of 40 modern training aircraft and three Redbird MCX full motion simulators.
The Academy works with many community colleges and technical high schools providing career guidance in aviation. In addition, regional airlines including Republic, PSA, ExpressJet, and Trans States have agreements with the Academy of Aviation to provide graduates with a fast track to airline employment.
The Academy of Aviation’s mission statement was founded on the principles that flying should be safe, fun and rewarding. The Academy strives to foster an environment for individual achievement thereby helping to ensure the long-term success of the aviation business.
Atlas Aviation started as an FBO and flight school at Peter O. Knight Airport (TPF) in Tampa, Florida in 2004, founded on the priorities of building an excellent reputation and quality branding.
Originally, Atlas purchased the fleet of typical 1970s flight school aircraft but wanted to build something better. A year later, the company partnered with Cessna as a Cessna Pilot Center and began updating the fleet. Even with the necessary price increases, the flight hours continued to build. The new aircraft and training system proved to be a recipe for growth.
Two factors added strength during the ups and downs of the training market in the last fifteen years. First, Atlas “took control of its own destiny” and slowly eliminated leasebacks. They now own a dozen, modern aircraft with Skyhawks serving as the backbone of the fleet. Second, Atlas capitalized on a very strong rental market. Atlas offers four high-performance aircraft for rental in addition to the dual-purpose training fleet. Atlas has grown into a sizeable, Part 141-style flight school, but operates under Part 61. This rare combination has been part of the success.
Over the years, Atlas has continued to strengthen its reputation both as an FBO and flight school. Earlier this year, Atlas was granted a 20-year lease at TPF and added Plant City Airport (PCM). Atlas has achieved AOPA’s Distinguished Flight School for the last two years and can’t wait to see what the next 20 years of aviation brings!
J. A. Air Center
In 2007, Scott Fank and Bruce Jacobs founded JA Flight Training. Based at Chicago’s Aurora Municipal Airport, the school is currently an FAA Part 141 flight school, Cessna Pilot Center and Liberty Flight Training affiliate. The current fleet comprises three Cessna 172’s, a Cessna 172N, a Cessna 172RG and a Diamond DA42. Currently, more than 170 students and 12 instructors exclusively use the Cessna Training Curriculum. Students can work toward a private pilot certificate and continue through their multi-engine instructor certificate.
Fank and Jacobs are also among the founding partners of Southern Airways Express, the largest commuter airline to fly Cessna Caravan aircraft in the United States. Prior to the opening of the flight training business, Scott Fank worked as a Cessna Aircraft Sales Representative (ASR), selling Cessna single-engine aircraft ranging from the Skycatcher to the Caravan aircraft. In addition to running daily operations at JA Flight training, Fank continues to sell aircraft and serves as Vice President of J.A. Air Center, a Cessna Service Center. Jacobs is the CIO of Southern Airways Express and is active in the daily operation of the airline. This unique partnership offers beginning pilots two career paths, including a degree program through Liberty University, and an accelerated program through Southern Airways Express.
Snohomish Flying Service
Incorporated in 1950, Snohomish Flying Service is located on Harvey Field in the pristine Snohomish River Valley of Washington State, just twenty miles north of Seattle. A Cessna Pilot Center since 1974, SFS is a proven industry leader in Career Professional Pilot training. The training service offers FAA-Approved fixed wing and helicopter flight training programs from the initial private pilot certificate to the career professional pilot. The fleet of eighteen aircraft includes four Cessna 152s, four Cessna 172s, a Cessna 182 Skylane, a Beechcraft Duchess and a Cessna 182RG, as well as two Schweizer 300C helicopters. Snohomish Flying Service is approved by the FAA to teach FAR Part 141 and Part 61 courses. The school is also approved to train veterans using the GI Bill and is authorized by the US Department of Homeland Security to train professional pilot students who come from all over the world. Snohomish Flying Service is a Flight Training affiliate for the Liberty University School of Aeronautics. Snohomish Flying Service’s mission is to promote general aviation, transport persons and cargo for hire and train, educate and graduate superior, skilled and qualified professional career pilots, and those wanting to pursue pilot ratings for a variety of reasons in both airplanes and helicopters.
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