California-based Part 135 Sun Air Jets is to collaborate with CAE on a pilot development programme (PDP) to enhance safety and address the increased need for business aviation pilots. Launched in Morristown, New Jersey by CAE in July 2023 with courses developed for King Air 350 pilots, this new Sun Air Jets programme allows young pilots to gain flight hours and experience by operating its flights as second-in-command (SIC) on aircraft that do not require more than one pilot.
The programme allows pilots to obtain invaluable on-the-job experience as they build their hours and progress to becoming a pilot-in-command (PIC). Several pilots have already graduated to PIC thanks to their participation in the CAE programme, and many more will have a similar opportunity at Sun Air Jets.
“We are very excited to implement this pilot development programme at Sun Air Jets to enhance safety within our operations and to meet the demand for pilots and workforce challenges,” says director of operations Ed Fares. “This pilot development programme will help provide additional qualified pilots while increasing overall safety. The programme is designed to bring beneficial operating experience to our young pilots, allowing them the opportunity to grow into bigger jet aircraft and build a strong foundation as a safe and professional pilot.”
“With the increased demand for business aviation pilots, CAE is committed to working in partnership with operators like Sun Air Jets to ensure they have the highly trained pilots needed to maintain safe and efficient operations,” adds Alexandre Prevost, division president, business aviation and helicopter training. “We are thrilled to bring this innovative pilot development programme to life with the Sun Air Jets team as it not only gives young pilots a way to build their hours and gain experience, but it also allows them to fly with more seasoned colleagues and benefit from their knowledge, resulting in safer operations.”
According to the NBAA, the SIC PDP, found in amended FAR Part 135.99, allows a pilot employed by a FAR Part 135 air carrier and serving as second-in-command in a multi-engine airplane or single-engine, turbine-powered airplane to log SIC flight during operations that do not require a second pilot. The revised rule also allows flight time gained in a SIC PDP to be used to meet certain aeronautical requirements of FAR Part 61 for an ATP certificate and certain aeronautical experience requirements of FAR Part 135. Part 135 operators that have been issued Operation Specification A062 are permitted to assign a qualified SIC and the SIC will be eligible to log the flight time if participating in the operator's SIC PDP.