Several Airlines Introduce Cadet Program to Provide Seamless Transition from Classroom to Cockpit

Envoy Air Inc. is building upon its existing Pilot Pipeline Programs to launch an industry-leading Cadet Program. The Envoy Cadet Program will help the most promising future pilots make a smooth transition from the classroom to cockpit. Combined with Envoy’s seniority-based flow through to American Airlines, the Cadet Program provides unmatched advancement opportunities.

Piedmont and PSA Airlines are launching similar programs. “As we grow our fleet of regional jets, Piedmont’s immediate need is experienced pilots who can upgrade quickly to the left seat,” said Piedmont’s president, Lyle Hogg. “But we also recognize that long term success means investing now in talented young pilots. We will count on them to fill the gap when our more senior aviators move on to American Airlines.

At PSA, the program offers various levels of support as the Cadet’s certifications, training and experience evolves, including up to $16,000 in tuition reimbursement. Mentorships and internships with airline industry experts can begin as early as a Cadet’s freshman year. Pledging mentorship helps ensure the Cadets are successful along the way, including when they go through the PSA training program.

“As the fastest growing regional airline in the country, it is more important than ever for PSA Airlines to attract the most promising future pilots from the most prestigious aviation institutions in the country,” said Dion Flannery, president of PSA Airlines. “This industry-leading program is not only a win for our airline, but for future participants as they now have a clear and unparalleled career path from student, to instructor, to PSA pilot and on to American Airlines.”

“Nearly 60 pilots have already come through our existing Pipeline programs and are now flying as First Officers for Envoy, with more than 185 currently employed by Envoy as instructors or completing their qualifications,” added Wilson. “We expect the enhancements in the Cadet program to attract even more pilots to join our team.”

Envoy is currently hiring more than 30 pilots per month, with new hire pilots projected to upgrade to Captain in just two and a half years and flow through to American in just over five years, with no additional interview required. Nearly 70 percent of American’s new hires since 2013 came from Envoy.

Piedmont will partner with select colleges and flight schools to provide tuition reimbursement and other benefits to qualified pilots. Once a pilot achieves Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) status he or she will be eligible for the Cadet Program including placement at a Piedmont partner school as an instructor and tuition reimbursement up to $5,000. After reaching the necessary number of flight hours, the pilot will be placed into an FAA-required Airline Transport Pilot Certification Training Program (ATP-CTP) course and provided with transportation and accommodations, at no cost. Once the course is completed successfully, the pilot will begin Piedmont first officer training at the American Airlines Training Center in Charlotte. At the start of training, each cadet pilot will receive an additional $6,000 in tuition reimbursement for a total value of more than $16,000.

PSA has partnered with 13 colleges, universities and flight schools on this initiative including: Cochise College; Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Daytona; Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Prescott; Kent State University; Le Tourneau University; Marywood University; Ohio University; The Ohio State University; Purdue University; Triad Aviation Academy; University of Cincinnati Clermont College; University of Dubuque and Westminster College.

PSA has flight crew bases located in Charlotte, North Carolina; Cincinnati, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; and Knoxville, Tennessee. Since 2013, PSA has doubled its size and will grow to operate 150 Bombardier CRJ aircraft by the end of 2017.