Las Vegas operator Sundance Helicopters has partnered with Hillsboro Heli Academy in Troutdale, Oregon to bring its SkyPath helicopter pilot development programme to the academy’s students.
The SkyPath programme provides career guidance and mentoring for future professional aviators and aimd to ensure a consistent, efficient and effective pipeline for Sundance Helicopters and industry partners to secure operationally-ready and highly-qualified helicopter pilots. This is the fourth partnership for SkyPath, which is also available at the Oregon-based Leading Edge Aviation, North Dakota-based UND Aerospace and Southern Utah University flight academies.
“With 39 years of experience training top pilots from around the world, Sundance was eager to work with Hillsboro Heli Academy. Sundance is proud to launch SkyPath at this institution,” says director of operations and creator of SkyPath Mark Schlaefli. “We look forward to seeing its first graduates from the programme and helping them become a part of the Sundance team.”
Through the SkyPath approach, a pilot candidate can apply for the programme via select partner flight schools, such as Hillsboro Heli Academy. As they progress through the ratings they are evaluated for their performance and the top tier candidates are guaranteed an interview with Sundance for available training slots.
“We are extremely excited to be provided with quality applicants, as well as direction and guidance for our students to help them achieve their goals as pilots in the helicopter industry,” adds Hillsboro Heli Academy general manager Jared Friend.
Once accepted, the pilot candidate continues through the remaining ratings at Hillsboro Heli 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 given a guaranteed interview with Sundance Helicopters.
The programme also includes an initial operating experience phase that will emphasise direct experience over flight hours and will provide advanced training and mentoring that results in career path acceleration while adding additional layers of safety, training and mentoring. This approach provides for a reduction in the flights hours traditionally required and replaces it with direct experience and evaluation.
Las Vegas-based Sundance Helicopters claims to have served over four million clients since 1985. It has been awarded USA Today’s 10 Best as the #1 best helicopter tour; TripAdvisor’s certificate of excellence nine years in a row; and was voted Las Vegas Review Journal’s best helicopter tours 2017-2018, best charter tours 2018, best event planner (2018), best family attraction 2017 and best extreme adventure 2017.
It offers tours to the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas Strip, Hoover Dam and other southwest locations as well as charter and custom tours for corporate, government and social groups. Along with sister company Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, Sundance is part of the Tourism Division of Air Methods Corporation in Denver, Colorado.
The SkyPath Helicopter Pilot Programme is an ab-initio flight training solution that facilitates career development. Through a nationwide network of SkyPath training providers, as well as aviation companies such as Air Methods Corporation and Redding Air Service, the programme aims to provide a solid foundation for training and a steady stream of talent for programme partners.