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Spirit partners with Denton flight school to train new pilots

 A yellow Spirit Airlines plane sits on a tarmac
Spirit Airlines
Spirit Airlines is partnering with a Denton flight school to train new pilots.

Spirit Airlines is partnering with Denton flight school US Aviation Academy to train new professional pilots.

Once accepted into the Spirit Wings Pilot Pathway program, students will receive a conditional job offer that would allow them to join the airline as a first officer.

Students need 500 hours of total flight time to apply for the program and, if accepted, will also receive equipment and mentorship from Spirit.

Scott Sykes, chief development officer at US Aviation Academy, says the internal training from Spirit will help students complete the rest of their required 1,500 flight hours.

“The training is tough to get into any of the major airlines like Spirit, and so this makes sure that once they get the minimum time and experience, they have the necessary skill as well,” he said.

The US Aviation Academy recommends students become flight instructors to build hours and experience while in the program.

“For very rough numbers it's about a year of training and one to two years of working as a flight instructor to build the time and experience required to move on to Spirit Airlines,” Sykes said.

Spirit’s program already has partnerships with flight schools in Phoenix, Arizona, Florida and Illinois.

"US Aviation Academy has all the attributes of a top-notch flight school,” Ryan Rodosta, senior director of flight operations at Spirit Airlines, said in a press release, “and that's exactly the type of partner we are looking for as we expand our pilot pipeline.”

Sykes says aviation jobs are in high demand and that the academy has also added courses for technicians and mechanics. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projected employment of airline and commercial pilots would grow 6% between 2021 and 2031, adding about 7,700 new jobs.

“This is a fantastic time to enter the aviation career, whether pilots or mechanics,” Sykes said. “There’s really a dire need for both.”