Sunday, October 19, 2014

Edmonton flying club finds new home, students

Despite being forced out of the City Center Airport, Edmonton’s Flying Club has found a new home and has been attracting some international attention. 

Chief flight instructor for the club, Sophia Wells, said the group decided to make the best of the situation after the City Center Airport was closed.

“It is kind of neat because we have to build brand new again and get a facelift on the club.

“The airport is really booming we're going to have a runway extension next spring. We're building a new hangar and building in the spring,” she said of their new home at the Parkland Airport.

“We've been here since it was nothing but a field until now and it's kind of nice to see how it's up and coming and how it's grown over the years,” instructor Brad Keats explained.

“City Center was great but everything comes to an end.”

Wells said they expected to add four new aircraft by the end of the year and have been attracting students from around the world.

“We are working with different countries and we do encourage people to contact us if that is something they are interested in but, flying club is really big on having people from all over the world from 16 all the way up to 70s and 80s as well as all cultures.”

Among those international students are twins William and Calvin Chen from Taiwan, who have been following their older brothers’ footsteps and training as commercial pilots in Canada.

“In China there is not that much room for training because the airspace above basically the whole country is either owned by the military and is fairly restricted so they're looking for people where they can go get their training done.

“There is a big group of students over there because their population is really big that just want to learn how to fly and some want to do it to get on with the commercial. Since Canada is such a good training program Transport Canada is very regulated and safety oriented which a lot of countries accept and really appreciate,” Wells explained.

She also said the club was hoping to design a program that would help students accelerate the process and move from a private pilot license to the commercial license in 14 months.

“That is a big pull if they can come here and get all their training in a shorter period of time it's less expensive for them and they also retain the knowledge a lot quicker.”

The Edmonton Flying Club has been attracting international students who are interested in becoming pilots, including twins William and Calvin Chen from Taiwan.

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