Expansion into niche market pilot training

TRACY NEAL
Last updated 13:09 10/01/2014

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Pilot training in Nelson is expanding. The company known as Nelson Pilot Training has been re-named Pacific Pilot Training to mark its move to new premises at Nelson Airport, and expansion into niche market pilot training.

Chief flying instructor and business co-owner David Marriott said the move to premises had given rise to fresh opportunities to provide recreational and advanced pilot training.

Pacific Pilot Training leases office and hangar space in the building that also houses Golden Wings Air Charter. Mr Marriott has run the flight training company for several years, formerly from a small office near the Nelson Aero Club hangar, and is now aiming to work with the air charter business, as it ties in with the professional pilot training scheme.

Golden Wings Air Charter has recently aligned itself with the fixed wing division of Blenheim-based charter firm Ridge Air.

Chief pilot Ross McCullum said the co-operative, commercial arrangement was designed to expand air transport services, but the two companies would remain operating under their own airline certificates.

Mr Marriott said the move had provided Pacific Pilot Training with better facilities than it had ever had, and the chance to expand its advanced pilot training courses through it being able to work with the two air charter companies.

"My aim is to get larger volumes of students, unconstrained by the requirements of [Government] student loans."

Mr Marriott said his flight school was offering a loan scheme backed by commercial banks at mortgage interest rates, loaned against standard security such as a home.

"Access to funding in education has always been an issue.

"Up until 10 or 15 years ago people used to finance themselves anyway."

Mr Marriott was a firm believer that pilot training needed to incorporate significant time at the controls, meaning students needed to be prepared to spend hours in the sky as well as in the classroom.

"Personalised ownership of risk management has gone out the window. We are looking at advancing and expanding commercial pilot training to cater to this more effectively."

Mr Marriott said the student market from China was "potentially huge", and a burgeoning market was the private aircraft owner in China.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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