Greetings from The Aero Experience Team


The Aero Experience is a celebration of Midwest aviation and aerospace achievement. We invite you to join us as we explore the treasures of Midwest aviation through first-hand experiences. Our contributors take turns flying lead, and we are always looking for new destinations. Check in with The Aero Experience frequently to see where we will land today, and then go out and have your own aero experiences!

Blue skies,

Carmelo Turdo, Mark Nankivil and Fred Harl - The Aero Experience Team

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Elite Aviation Aims to Raise Standards of Pilot Training at New St. Louis Location

By Carmelo Turdo
Elite Aviation, the St. Louis area's newest flight school, is now officially open for new student enrollment following their open house last weekend.  Elite Aviation, a Cessna Pilot Center, is the only general aviation flight school currently at Spirit of St. Louis Airport.  Student and advanced pilot training is conducted by carefully selected certified flight instructors (CFIs), incorporates a comprehensive curriculum, and uses late-model Cessna 172 aircraft and an advanced Redbird MCX simulator.  Additional service offerings will be presented as the additional staff and equipment are available in the near future. 

The Aero Experience attended Elite Aviation's open house events and we discussed the company's approach to flight training with two members of the leadership team. The opening of Elite Aviation, a new corporate entity, comes on the heels of the closing of the Air Associates of Missouri St. Louis location.  The leadership team, including Donna Tipton, John Tipton and some hand-picked members of the Air Associates of Missouri staff, were instrumental in keeping continuity of service to existing student pilots and preservation of the same facility for use by Elite Aviation. But this was more than a continuation of the past.  "Elite Aviation is a new company," John Tipton told The Aero Experience.  "Our name describes our philosophy.  This field (Spirit of St. Louis Airport) needs a flight school and we can set up a new experience." 

CFI Joe Overman pre-flights a Cessna 172S
Elite Aviation has competitively priced flight training packages, but will not cut corners to be the least expensive or over-promise on student success. They will deliver high quality and comprehensive flight training that uses proven methods and the latest equipment.  A Cessna Pilot Center, Elite Aviation uses the latest proven computer-based educational materials and incorporates additional training tools such as an Aircraft Dispatch Flight Risk Analysis Tool that evaluates the pilot's readiness for flight on an objective point system for added safety.  Having the best methods and equipment available is important, but it takes an excellent staff to make the system work.  To that point John Tipton added, "It's the people working with us.  They believe we can make a difference."

John Tipton shared that he carries the best qualities of his own pilot training through to his involvement with Elite Aviation. Tipton received his flight training at Air Associates of Missouri six years ago with CFI Rich Franzer, 2013 New CFI of the Year and subject of a feature story by The Aero Experience.  "I had a CFI that was very thorough, he wanted to be safe," he told The Aero Experience.  "I want to share my experience with that level of pilot training."  The end result is a combination of the highest caliber of instructors and latest equipment available for Elite Aviation customers.          

There are still a still a few parts of the business to assemble, and they are coming together very soon.  Along with the four Cessna 172 aircraft and six CFIs on staff, there will be a multi-engine aircraft and possibly other aircraft joining the fleet in the future.  The maintenance facility is nearly ready to open, and the company's web site and online scheduling functions are nearing completion. 

The Aero Experience thanks Elite Aviation for their hospitality and for giving the interview for this story.

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