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  • Southern Skies Aviation

    August 1 - 2008

    I was invited to go on a flight today at 7:00am today, with Kevin Burrar of Great Valleys radio, aerial traffic report. It was a great flight, took many pictures and video and upon reviewing them, thought I could have taken a few more. This flight was the highlight of the day for me, not having been up for a number of years, I enjoyed every minute of it ! A very sincere thanks to Southern Skies and to the pilot (my apologies for not catching his name) for the opportunity to be able to take a ride on this very enjoyable flight."

    - Yours truly, John Barnay

    June 12 - 2007

    "Great sightseeing! Recommend a flight for every visitor." - Richard Eton & Family

    May 13 - 2007

    A WONDERFUL experience! What a way to celebrate an 80th birthday! - Bob & Louise Read & Don Parker

    March 20 - 2007

    Chances are that if you're looking at becoming a pilot, you are either related to or know somebody in the industry. So you've probably got advice coming in from all directions as to which schools to go to or what type of flying you should be doing. Well, ultimately it's your choice and you need to decide what you are looking for in your career. read more..

    I am a new pilot to the industry and I've experienced both the college environment as well as the "mom and pop" schools. They both offer their own advantages and disadvantages that we'll look at and perhaps help you decide what you want to pursue. Remember, always be open to advice but don't ever let anyone force you into a decision that you're not completely satisfied with.

    The accredited aviation colleges are probably the first things that we look at when we are deciding where to go. Most of these colleges, such as (Mount Royal, Seneca, Selkirk) have been around forever and they have very experienced instructors on staff, in fact, if your mother or father is an airline pilot, chances are they went to one of these schools. Take a look at their websites, look at the course descriptions and ask questions. A lot of these colleges require their students to attend regular college classes alongside their flight training and groundschool courses! Learning how to become a professional pilot is hard enough, but now you have to study: calculus, English and physics!? No weekends, no spare time, no breaks, just stress. I have witnessed some of the most level headed competent pilots I've ever met give up on flying, simply because they got a "D" in English. Does their ability to decode poetry relate at all to their skills in a cockpit? Some of the other smaller schools (such as Southern Skies in Penticton) are now offering an integrated commercial program. If I had it to do all over again I would certainly have followed this path. They are strictly focussed on the flight training and not bogging down their already stressed students with English, physics, math etc. Another benefit to an integrated program is that it's FAST! Many of the colleges and bolt on programs end up taking 2-4 years. Because integrated programs are just about the flying, they can get you done in as little as a year!

    Next we have those dreaded tuition fees. Post secondary education isn't cheap. Couple that with flight training and you can expect around $50k all said and done, which is fine if you're on a first name basis with Bill Gates, but most of us either run to mom and dad, or the government for a little help. Either way, we still want to keep those $$$ to a minimum right? Well, imagine how much money you could save by taking a one year program as opposed to a 2-4 year program? Now some of those other guys will have a degree in their pocket, but does that make them any more qualified than you? My last point for you to ponder is job placement. Try to find a school that can offer you an interview with a regional carrier. Most of my classmates got a sandwich and a roadmap and we muddled our way through.

    So in summary, we touched on some of the major issues in choosing the right course of action for you. Do you want to spend four years and come out with a degree? Or would you rather get done 3 years before those "degree" students hit the job market. Generally money isn't an issue but most integrated programs seem to hover around the $40k mark. Lastly look at how that school might help you find work, because if you don't have an in, it'll be a long wait.

    - Stuart Cheyne

    April 15 - 2007

    "Just a quick note to thank you once again for the Fam ride for my son Robin - Pictures turned out great - the pilot should take up photography - Thanks again."

    - Brett Malcom

    June 30 - 2005

    "The Fam Flight is a great affordable way to introduce people young and old to the excitement of flight. Everyone should try flying the beautiful skies of the Okanagan at least once"

    - Sean Lewko, Proud Father and Aviator.

    As the Captain of your own aircraft, we invite you to use our training programs in the continual process of education and the pursuit of excellence.