What place would come to mind when you think about flight training? If you’re like most of us, you’d think of an airport. In the future, if Continental Motors’ new concept is any indication, you may be picturing the local mall instead.
Continental Motors, one of the big aircraft piston engine manufacturers, has recently launched a new flight school called Zulu Flight Training. While it may sound like just another school, it features an interesting twist–it’s located in an upscale shopping center. Shoppers in Spanish Fort, Alabama can drop by the Pottery Barn, pick up some new home decor, and then stop in for an hour of flight training in one of several Redbird flight simulators.
The bulk of the training takes place in the simulators, which are all located right there in the shopping center, and later students will transition to actual aircraft located at the local airport. Continental developed the concept in-house and tested with their employees before rolling it out to the general public. According to Gloria Liu, General Manager, as reported by AvWeb, “Our training model is an adaptation of the Redbird Skyport, but rather than the customer going to the training, we bring the training to the customer.”
Zulu is currently offering training for a Private Pilot Certificate at a flat $8,500. The course follows a standard syllabus and is designed to keep lessons convenient and maximize retention of skills. The hope is to reduce the amount of time students require in the actual aircraft, which could really help in congested urban areas, like Los Angeles or New York, and eventually places like China or India.
Like the Redbird Skyport, Zulu Flight Training seems like an interesting concept. While it may be intended as more of a test bed for international markets, it could very likely be a badly-needed source of new pilots here in the US. In either case the concept represents a breath of fresh air in an industry that can be slow to react to change.
For more information on flight training and choosing the right school, check out our Flight Training Resource Center or find flight training near you.