Local flight training school helps pilots reach for the sky

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Huge global demand for pilots has led Tayside Aviation to draw up plans to increase the number of students it trains in a new purpose-built facility.

The flight training school, based at Dundee and Fife Airports, has celebrated its 50th anniversary – but is looking to the future.

Currently 50 students are enrolled on its three-year training programme, which starts every six months.

The company, which had a turnover of £2.8 million last year, is hoping to increase that number to about 80 with the creation of an academy in a new building at Dundee Airport.

Tayside Aviation’s managing director Jim Watt said: “The demand for pilots has never been greater than it is right now.

“To meet the global demand, four pilots a day will have to be trained.

“The BsC accredited course we started three years ago is the first of its kind available in Scotland and greatly increases students’ chances of gaining employment as pilots.

“We are starting to see our first graduates and in the past two months we have placed pilots with Loganair, Flybe and Ryanair.”

The course costs about £60,000 but can lead to a starting salary of about £35,000 with an airline.

“Once they are about halfway through their training we employ them as an instructor which helps support the students financially and also helps build their hours up,” Mr Watt added.

“It means we are giving the airlines experienced pilots, not just trained pilots.”