There are new students in the skies.

AeroGuard opened its fifth location last month, a flight training center in Punta Gorda Airport. The space will be shared with Charlotte County Schools as it seeks approval from the Federal Aviation Administration for its Aviation Airframe and Powerplant mechanics, or A&P, training program.

“We’re excited about the arrival of the AeroGuard Flight Training Center at Punta Gorda Airport in Charlotte County,” said Charlotte County Economic Development Director Dave Gammon. “Companies like AeroGuard fit right into our strategy of developing a cluster of aviation industry businesses in and around the airport.”

Students already started flying Oct. 14, with new students starting again on Dec. 9 and Jan. 13. The flight school is holding a promotion where students can start on either of those start dates and save up to $5,000 on their flight training.

The school offers two domestic programs, the Pilot Pathway and Rotor Transition programs. The Pilot Pathway program takes students with zero or some experience, and the Rotor Transition program takes students with helicopter experience. Both will prepare students to start their commercial airline pilot careers in about two years.

“High-quality, safe, career-track flight training has the potential to change lives,” said AeroGuard CEO Joel Davidson. “Our new campus in Punta Gorda gives us an incredible opportunity to reach new cadets, helping them to create their own bright futures, while we work hard to meet the rising global demand for highly trained pilots.”

The school is also in the process of getting government approval to offer their international program.

Aeroguard’s Punta Gorda campus is currently not hiring flight instructors.

“How our program works is that students will progress to working as flight instructors with us as a guaranteed job with AeroGuard where they will further build their experience to the required hours to work for the commercial airlines,” said AeroGuard spokesperson Kiara Jovicevic. This is typically 1,500 hours.

So far, the school has four staff members, all who worked previously with WMU, Jovicevic said.

“We look forward to collaborating with Aeroguard on their marketing efforts, and to raising regional awareness about its flight training offerings,” said PGD spokesperson Kaley Miller.

The training center offers an all-inclusive tuition model and reimbursement packages with SkyWest Airlines. Those interested in learning more about starting a career in aviation should connect with an enrollment advisor at www.FlyAeroGuard.com.

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