BEND, OR — The financial investment required to become a professional pilot is a hurdle for many aspiring pilots. Additionally, the U.S. is facing a national pilot shortage caused by a training and hiring slowdown from the pandemic and a wave of early retirements. To support the long-term career success of pilot candidates and to help address the shortage, Leading Edge Flight Academy (LEFA) in Bend, Oregon, and Ravn Alaska, based in Anchorage, announce a strategic partnership.
Through the partnership, LEFA pilots become eligible for Ravn’s Flow Program at the conclusion of their commercial flight training. Upon selection, candidates receive a Ravn Connect seniority number. After 6-18 months as a LEFA flight instructor, they are immediately qualified to begin flying for Ravn’s Part 135 operations, with guaranteed flow-through to Part 121 airlines. To further reduce the financial burden and ensure the success of candidates, Ravn agrees to assume monthly payments of any student debt accrued during flight training at LEFA for the entirety of their employment with the company.
“I am pleased to announce this partnership between Ravn Alaska and Leading Edge Flight Academy and what it can mean for students at any level. Employment with Ravn Alaska, Ravn Connect, and Northern Pacific can offer not only a career path but relief from mounting student debt.” – Rob McKinney CEO.
“LEFA’s Part 141 program and multiple financing options – from Sallie Mae to Meritize – provide the most direct and cost-efficient path to a career as a professional pilot. At Ravn, a new pilot could work their entire career, first flying turboprops in Alaska and ultimately flying long-haul international flights. And if remaining in good-employment standing with Ravn, that pilot could have their entire student debt from flight training paid off. That’s a huge opportunity when opportunities are needed for aspiring pilots, especially those hesitant to accrue student debt.” – Jack Walker, Leading Edge Flight Academy.