About AeroGuard Flight Training Center
With over 40 years of experience, four training sites across the United States, and a fleet of 70 aircraft, AeroGuard Flight Training Center is dedicated to accelerating its students to careers as professional pilots.
“We have a structured program that guides students through each step of the training. Our way of doing things, our way of operating is modeled after the airline environment,” said James Constable, director of marketing for AeroGuard Flight Training Center. “At AeroGuard, it’s not about jumping on a plane with a flight instructor and saying, ‘What do you want to do today?’ Our students have assignments, line items for training, and standards of completion; that’s the goal and that’s what we’re doing here: preparing people for very long and very successful careers after they leave. .
FAA Part 141 School
Far beyond the training services provided by an FBO, AeroGuard is an FAA Part 141 school that offers courses aligned with both Part 141 and Part 61 to meet the needs of students. AeroGuard also offers an FAA-approved reduced-hour CPL course based on its rigorous curriculum and structured environment, allowing students to complete training in less time and at a lower cost. The school operates a campus-like facility at its headquarters in Deer Valley, just north of Phoenix. “We have 35,000 square feet here, four buildings, a ramp, 10 classrooms and lots of briefing rooms,” Constable said.
AeroGuard also operates three other growing campuses, one south of Phoenix in Chandler, one in Austin, Texas, and another in Fort Myers, Florida. All of its training facilities are deliberately located within the “sunbelt”, to maximize year-round flying opportunities for students. And, although the school does not have residence halls, it can coordinate optional housing in local apartment buildings for students who need it. “At the moment we have room for just over 100 students,” Constable said. “There is an additional cost for housing, but it’s one less thing our students have to worry about when moving to AeroGuard. We also connect students with each other for colocation and cost sharing purposes. »
All AeroGuard facilities incorporate the latest Redbird simulators and train students from scratch through successful completion of seven FAA certificates/qualifications necessary to launch their career as airline pilots: private, instrument, commercial single-engine, commercial Multi-Engine, Certified Flight Instructor, Certified Flight Instructor – Instrument and Multi-Engine Instructor.
Emphasis on professionalism
The training is intense and accelerated. “It’s a full-time program,” Constable said. “We don’t recommend that students try to keep an outside job; it’s a targeted program to get them to the airlines quickly.
Professionalism is also part of the training program, from pre-flight to post-flight, to the uniforms the students wear. “We try to prepare our students for the life of a professional pilot. Our processes, our policies, the way we operate all align with this goal,” Constable said. “A lot of other flight schools, it’s very casual, shorts and flip flops, that’s not our style.” In fact, if you’re looking to fly recreationally by earning a private pilot certificate, he says, look elsewhere. “We only do career-focused training here,” Constable said. “We focus on commercial and professional airline pilots.”
To this end, AeroGuard has chosen to have a close domestic airline partnership with SkyWest Airlines, as well as agreements with several international airlines.
A path to success
Recognizing the significant investment of time, effort and treasure it takes to become an airline pilot, AeroGuard has created a streamlined path for its students, offering them CFI roles upon graduation. This creates a pathway for students to gain flight time experience while earning a paycheck and progressing towards their career goals.
This guaranteed role of CFI is facilitated by AeroGuard’s international airline partnerships which offer many students the opportunity to train and accumulate flight time.
Generally, working as a CFI is one of the fastest ways to accumulate the flight hours and experience needed to become an airline pilot. “From starting our program to becoming a first officer at a regional airline, it typically takes two to two and a half years,” Constable said. “As a student, it’s about a year.” The rest of the time is spent working as a CFI for the school or earning flight hours elsewhere.
Guaranteed maintenance with SkyWest
According to Constable, a second benefit for AeroGuard students is the school’s close partnership with SkyWest. “AeroGuard maintains an integrated partnership with the largest regional airline in the United States, providing tangible benefits for students, compared to many partnerships without gain,” said Constable. All AeroGuard students are eligible to participate in SkyWest’s Pilot course programwhich includes mentorship opportunities and guarantees a first officer interview with the airline after completing training and accumulating the required flight hours.
“And, there is a very high acceptance rate at this interview,” Constable said, which is a testament to the quality of education students receive at AeroGuard. Additionally, the SkyWest interview can be the first step in an AeroGuard graduate’s flight path to a straight seat on one of the four major airlines SkyWest partners with: Southwest, Delta, United. and Alaska.
“Our partnership provides a clear path from training to SkyWest First Officer, Captain, and ultimately flight training for one of our key partners through our Guaranteed Maintenance Program, should that be their career goal,” said said Tracy Gallo, senior vice president of flight operations for SkyWest. “In addition to the training they receive at AeroGuard, we hold regular workshops and offer their students the opportunity to benefit from mentorship from SkyWest pilots.”
AeroGuard students who become SkyWest cadets are also eligible for tuition reimbursements of up to $17,500 to help them achieve their dreams of becoming commercial pilots.
According to Gallo, AeroGuard graduates hired by SkyWest are well prepared for success. “[AeroGuard has] has established a reputation for training highly skilled pilots who choose to come to SkyWest after completing their training,” he said. Another benefit of AeroGuard’s relationship with SkyWest: Students start earning seniority with the regional airline the day they enroll in the Pilot Pathway program, and there’s no commitment from the student. “At the end of the day, if they choose to join SkyWest, it helps them get more seniority, choose their home base, flight benefits, that sort of thing,” Constable said, but graduates from ‘AeroGuard are not locked up after training including CFI work at AeroGuard itself.
Looking for a college degree and Flight certificates?
While most major airlines no longer require new pilots to hire a college degree, a degree can help applicants through the application process and can also help fund their flight training. AeroGuard offers an option for students who wish to earn a degree alongside their flight certifications through its partner institutions: Liberty University and Purdue Global University. Online programs give students the option of earning a bachelor’s degree in aviation (Liberty) or a bachelor’s degree in professional flight (Purdue). It may take degree-seeking students a bit longer to complete their flight training as they balance other coursework, Constable said; but this is partly offset by the R-ATP that the degree allows graduates to pursue. The R-ATP reduces the flight time required by the FAA to 1,000 hours from the usual 1,500 hours, to be hired as a co-pilot.
A standardized fleet
AeroGuard operates a standardized fleet of Piper aircraft. Students fly Piper Archers and Piper Seminoles for single-engine and multi-engine training, respectively, with two Cessna 152s in the AeroGuard fleet to train students in spin and upset recovery.
According to Constable, operating a standardized fleet improves efficiency and the learning experience for students, which means that no matter which aircraft a student is assigned to, it will operate the same, providing a consistent training experience. Additionally, the all-Piper and low-wing fleet makes it easy for students to transition from single-engine to multi-engine training, as they are already familiar with basic aircraft handling and the cockpit.
Make it happen
AeroGuard offers two pricing models for its flight training; a flat rate and an hourly pay-as-you-go option. Under these programs, students can pay as little as $80,000 plus travel costs for seven FAA ratings using AeroGuard’s 141 reduced-hour CPL program. The school has several lending partners who will work with students to fund their studies. Additionally, students who choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree concurrently with their flight training may be eligible for federal student loans and scholarships through the FAFSA, as well as Alumni Administration funds. veterans and the GI Bill (for qualified veterans).
Regardless of how students choose to pay for their education, one thing is certain, Constable said, “AeroGuard gives its graduates a foundation they can build on that will benefit them throughout their careers. An AeroGuard graduate will stand out in their class in commercial airlines Learn more about AeroGuard Flight Training Center at flyaeroguard.com.
400 students (current enrollment)
70 aircraft, mostly Piper Archers and Piper Seminoles; and two Cessna 152s
4 sites (Deer Valley/North Phoenix and Chandler, Arizona; Austin, Texas; and Fort Myers, Florida)
1 year as a student; 2 years from start to airline (includes build time as a CFI for AeroGuard or elsewhere)
$85,000, lump sum cost (includes check rides)
More than 7,000 graduates since 1999
2 optional online degree programs (Purdue Global University and Liberty University)
1 regional airline partner (SkyWest Airlines)