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HANGAR TALK


Sundance Helicopters Partners with Hillsboro Heli Academy for SkyPath Helicopter Pilot Development Initiative


The Sundance Helicopters SkyPath Pilot Program recently partnered with Hillsboro Heli Academy in Troutdale, Oregon, to bring the helicopter pilot development program to the academy’s helicopter pilot students. The SkyPath program provides career guidance and mentoring for future professional aviators. It also ensures a consistent, efficient, and effective pipeline for Sundance Helicopters and industry partners to secure operationally ready and highly qualified helicopter pilots. This is the fourth partnership for SkyPath; it is also available at top-flight academies such as Leading Edge Aviation (Bend, Oregon), UND Aerospace (Grand Forks, North Dakota) and Southern Utah University (Cedar City, Utah).


“With 39 years of experience training top pilots from around the world, Sundance was eager to work with Hillsboro Heli Academy. Sundance is proud to launch SkyPath at this institution,” said Mark Schlaefli, director of operations for Sundance Helicopters and creator of SkyPath. “We look forward to seeing their first graduates from the program and helping them become a part of the Sundance team.”


Through the SkyPath approach, a pilot candidate would apply for the program via select partner flight schools such as Hillsboro Heli Academy. As the pilot candidate progresses through ratings, they are evaluated for their performance, and the top tier candidates


are guaranteed an interview with Sundance for available training slots.


“We are extremely excited to partner with operators like Sundance Helicopters and the SkyPath pilot program to provide quality applicants as well as direction and guidance for our students to achieve their goals as pilots in the helicopter industry,” said Jared Friend, Hillsboro Heli Academy general manager.


Once accepted, the pilot candidate continues through the remaining ratings at Hillsboro Heli Academy and eventually progresses into the instructional phase as a Certified Flight Instructor. After a period of dual given and once the Part 135 minimums are met, he or she will be given a guaranteed interview with Sundance Helicopters.


The program also includes an Initial Operating Experience phase, which will emphasize direct experience over flight hours and will provide advanced training and mentoring that results in career path acceleration while adding additional layers of safety, training, and mentoring. This approach provides for a reduction in the flights hours traditionally required, and replaces it with direct experience and evaluation.


These steps will ensure that Sundance Helicopters has an active role in the development and training of pilots from the very beginning of their careers, instilling Sundance Helicopters’ core values of safety and emphasizing decisionmaking and the Sundance PIC culture.


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