Sporty’s flight academy boss says why his school has an edge over other training centres
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Sporty’s Flight Academy president Eric Radtke responds to Merawan’s queries
- When did the academy start and why, considering the number of flight schools in the US?
In 1987, Sporty’s Academy was founded to develop aviation education courses and to produce videos that teach pilots everything they need to know about aviation. From weather and safety to technique and air traffic control, and all focused on real-world flying. This was a natural brand extension for Sporty’s as Hal Shevers, our founder and chairman, had been a pioneer in developing the three-day ground school course in partnership with the AOPA Air Safety Foundation and had been an active flight instructor since 1961.
Shortly after Sporty’s Academy was founded, we had the opportunity to acquire the local FBO along with the existing flight school. Acquiring aircraft, hiring instructors and beginning “in-airplane” training was also natural extension of what he had been doing in aviation education since 1961. It also provided us with a laboratory of sorts to improve, enhance and develop flight training programs.
The Academy’s rich history and experience in aviation education now includes operating a Part 141 approved flight school. Sporty’s student enrollment is more than 100 at the Clermont County Airport in Cincinnati, Ohio. In addition, Sporty’s is an FAA written testing provider and the FAA Safety Team recognises Sporty’s as an official industry member.
In partnership with the University of Cincinnati (UC), Sporty’s also administers the UC Professional Pilot Training Program providing the University with training aircraft, instructors and aviation curricula. This extensive involvement in aviation education affords Sporty’s the opportunity and expertise to now offer hundreds of hours of original educational content to tens of thousands of pilots around the world in a multitude of formats.
- What are the planes available for training today and what are the ratings you presently offer?
We maintain an impeccable fleet of late-model aircraft, including Cessna 172 and 182s, including those with glass panels. In addition, the Academy maintains a Piper Aztec and a Diamond Motorglider.
With its own maintenance shop on the field and maintenance standards that are the envy of any flight school, clients will not be disappointed with the aircraft in which they will train.
Sporty’s Academy offers 1st flight packages, solo course, Sport Pilot Training, Recreational Pilot, Private Pilot, Instrument Rating, Commercial Pilot, ATP, Glider Training and Multiengine Training. The Academy also provides instructor training for qualified individuals and a host of customized training options for flight review, IPC, glass-panel flying, advanced avionics, etc.
- Have you taken international students, and any from Singapore, Malaysia or Indonesia?
We host international students from around the globe through our association with the University of Cincinnati and Sporty’s own SEVP approval to assist international students with obtaining M1 student visas for training.
Sporty’s location at the Clermont County Airport in Cincinnati, OH – a major metropolitan area with an international airport – makes it an ideal destination for training.
Our facility features an FAA written testing center. The Academy also has a designated pilot examiner on staff and an aviation medical examiner on site. Because the airport is home to Sporty’s Pilot Shop, you will have access to all the latest products and services that make flying safer and more fun. Sporty’s weather station will be an integral part of your flight planning, while access to the dedicated aviation library will complement your own learning.
- Can you give some back of the envelope costs for doing the private pilot course, and the full IFR rating, and average length of time required?
Sporty’s Academy offers an accelerated Private Pilot training course that can be accomplished in as little as 14 days of intense training at a cost of approximately US$9,000.00.
The Private pilot with instrument rating can be accomplished in approximately 30 days at a cost of US$18,000.00.
- What is unique about your academy and/or Clermont County Airport which makes it/them more suited for students?
Sporty’s Academy has a superior instructional staff.
Our flight instructors aren’t just passing through on their way to another job; they are dedicated to providing the best possible individualized instruction. And they are held accountable, too: strict supervision of your flight training experience ensures that your valuable training dollar is maximised.
Sporty’s instructional staff includes 10 Master Flight Instructors. That means that these instructors meet and exceed rigorous industry standards, and these instructors obtained the distinction of Master Flight Instructor out of pride of their profession, wanting to be the best possible flight instructor.
Hal Shevers, chairman and founder of Sporty’s, is proud of being a long-time flight instructor. In fact, Hal has so distinguished himself and his high standard of training that he has been inducted into the National Flight Instructor Hall of Fame, an honor granted only a few instructors.
Sporty’s Academy is based at a lively, small airport.
Clermont County Airport (I69) is an ideal base of operations for a student pilot. It’s small enough that you will not feel intimidated by a fleet of huge airplanes, yet big enough and active enough to give you plenty of real-world flying experience.
Because the airport is home to Sporty’s Pilot Shop, you will have access to all the latest products and services that make flying safer and more fun. Sporty’s weather station will be an integral part of your flight planning, while access to Sporty’s aviation library will complement your own learning.
The Tri-State Warbird Museum is also on the field, and when you’re ready to step up to aircraft ownership, Sporty’s is a Cessna dealer with its own maintenance facility and avionics shop right there. Sporty’s is involved with every aspect of aviation, and that fact makes your training all that more effective.
Sporty’s Academy knows aircraft.
Sporty’s Academy maintains an impeccable fleet of late-model aircraft, including Cessna 172 and 182s, including those with glass panels. In addition, Sporty’s Academy maintains a Piper Aztec and a Diamond Motorglider.
With its own maintenance shop on the field and maintenance standards that are the envy of any flight school, you won’t be disappointed with the aircraft in which you train.
Sporty’s Academy will be here tomorrow.
And tomorrow. And next year. And next year. You’ve no doubt heard the nightmare stories of flight schools that suddenly shut down, taking the student’s cash with them. Sporty’s is entering its 50th year, and as one of the premiere companies in general aviation, has the necessary financial wherewithal and corporate stability.
Sporty’s Academy is more than a flight school.
When you train at Sporty’s, you’re part of the Sporty’s family. That means you benefit from training at a school that’s been deeply involved in aviation education since 1961. Unlike other flight schools, Sporty’s has developed its own courses, its own teaching aids for flight instructors and has produced hundreds of hours of video material on all aspects of pilot technique and aircraft safety.