Sling Pilot Academy Offers Low-Cost Professional Pilot Program

New training program promises a path to the airlines in just over two years.

Sling Pilot Academy Training
The Sling Pilot Academy uses the two-seat Sling LSA, produced by The Airplane Factory, as its training platform.Courtesy Sling Pilot Academy

With the growing pilot shortage looming as major airlines face the retirement of thousands of pilots each year, new flight training academies are being introduced to meet the needs. Based at the Zamperini Field Airport in Torrance, California, the Sling Pilot Academy is an affordable solution for pilot candidates ready to earn the required ratings and 1,500 hours of flight time quickly.

The Sling Pilot Academy grew out of a basic flight school that opened its doors in Torrance nearly a decade ago as an offshoot to The Airplane Factory, which offers South African Sling kits and LSAs at the field. Being a Light Sport Aircraft, the Sling LSA provides an affordable solution for flight training, while offering the latest in glass cockpit technology.

The Sling Pilot Academy claims it can take a pilot from zero time through a Commercial Certificate in nine months at a price of $62,595, not including equipment and examiner fees. The cost is kept low by using simulators and self-study through the King School curriculum as part of the program. Financing is available through AOPA. The Sling Pilot Academy also offers a $20,000 flight training scholarship to be awarded in August.

Students are expected to attend the academy Monday through Friday in order to complete the program in the promised nine-month period. After completing the program, students are encouraged to work as instructors at the school to build up the 1,500 hours required to work at a regional airline. The school expects its pilots to be ready to apply for a job with a commercial airline after a little more than two years.

One of the first pilots to move on to the airlines from the Sling Pilot Academy is Vaughn DeHart, who recently got a job with Endeavor Air, a Delta Connection regional carrier. “Without a doubt, this is the way to get into an airline job as quickly as possible,” DeHart said.