Sunday, December 18, 2016

Executive Flight Institute makes dreams of flight attainable for all

EFI (Executive Flight Institute) at French Valley Airport hosts an open house offering discounted airplane rides, flight simulator demos, flight training information and a number of airplanes on display, November 19th.

When David Sowards bought Executive Flight Institute in February 2015, he already had a business relationship with the flight school which was leasing his aircraft for use in its training programs.

“The close-knit family relationship that existed at the school attracted me to the school in a more permanent arrangement,” Sowards said. “The front office was extremely warm and inviting and made the school fun place to be. The instructors were all knowledgeable and truly concerned with providing the safest flight training available while making the flight experience as enjoyable and memorable as possible.”

Sowards is no stranger to flight coming from an aviation background. In 1979 he started flight instruction while still in high school in Loveland, Colorado. After graduating, he joined the U.S. Army and spent eight years in helicopter aviation units all around the world.

EFI Flight School owner Dave Sowards attaches a tow bar to a new Cessna TTx before a flight instructor takes a test flight in the new aircraft during the flight school’s open house, November 19th.

“In 1987 I began a career with Gulfstream Aerospace and am still with them today, after 28 years,” Sowards said. “I spent 13 years in the Middle East as the Gulfstream field service representative, responsible for all of the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia. I returned to California in 2012 and after leasing aircraft to EFI for two years, decided to purchase the school when the opportunity presented itself.”

EFI Flight School staff and Cessna Representatives gather outside of the flight school’s hangar greeting guests and answering questions related to flying, November 19th.

According to Sowards, EFI has been in business in one form or another for over 15 years.

“While EFI has been in business for quite some time, we are constantly listening to our clientele and trying to improve our services and keep up with the changing times,” he said. “We continue to be the same fun loving flight environment we have always been, but we are doing it in the most affordable means possible.”

After purchasing EFI, Sowards began to focus on improving the school accommodations and increasing the flight school’s equipment and aircraft.

“We have increased the staff, doubled the number of aircraft available for rental and instruction and modernized the fleet,” he said. “We have done all of this while keeping our pricing as low as possible and constantly beating any of our competitors.”

A new Cessna TTx presented by Textron Aviation on display for guests attending the EFI Flight School open house, November 19th.

EFI provides flight training for almost any available license and rating. Private pilots train in either the Cessna 150 or the Cessna 172.

“These are the staple of flight training worldwide and have a very good safety record,” Sowards said. “A minimum of 40 hours is required to obtain the private pilot’s license.”

According to Sowards, training for the Instrument rating is normally accomplished in either the Cessna 172SP or the Cirrus SR20, both complete with the latest technology including glass cockpits.

“We also offer training for the Commercial rating, which is required in order for a pilot to charge for their time and become an actual pilot for hire,” he said. “We utilize our Piper Arrow for all commercial training.”

EFI also offers training for Multi-Engine and CFI ratings and provides transition training for those that want to move into a modern aircraft such as the Cirrus.

Sowards said he is constantly looking for ways to improve services and introduce new technologies, not just in equipment but in teaching techniques too.

“We recently became a Cessna Pilot Training Center and are in talks with several regional airlines to provide entry level pilots for their internal training programs and advancement onto the larger commercial airlines,” he explained. “We are very excited about the future and want the public to know we are here and available seven days a week to help make their dreams of flight, a reality.”

For those who want to learn how to fly, but think they can’t fit it into their budget, Sowards has a solution for that too.

“We have programs available for financing so that the cost of pilot training can be spread out over an extended period of time, while not slowing down the training period and get them into the skies at faster rate,” Sowards said.

EFI Flight School instructor Shannon Holbert (right) prepares to test fly a new Cessna TTx with Textron Aviation pilot and representative Tim McCoy (left), during the EFI Flight School open house, November 19th.

“Learning to fly is an experience that everyone has to try,” he explained. “It is one of the most common items on any ones “Bucket List” and it is more affordable and in reach than most people believe. We have introductory flights starting out at $99 and the customer will actually fly the aircraft while receiving instruction and log their first hour of flight toward a private pilot’s license.”

Competition aerobatic pilot Anthony Oshinuga taxis his high performance biplane to the runway during the EFI Flight School Open house at French Valley Airport, November 19th.

For more information on EFI and all the great programs they offer, visit, like them on their EFI Flight School Facebook page, or stop by the offices any day between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

EFI is conveniently located at 37680 Sky Canyon Drive at the French Valley Airport located off Winchester Road in Murrieta.

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