NEW BERN, N.C.— On Wednesday (Aug. 19) Tradewind Flight Services (TFS) and Craven Community College (Craven CC) will commence their second year of the Aviation Management and Career Pilot Technology program for incoming students.
The Aviation and Career Pilot Technology program at Craven CC offers an exciting opportunity for potential aviators to earn an associate degree in conjunction with the flight training required for a professional pilot. This program is open to all eligible students to include military veterans and high school graduates.
“You would be hard pressed to find any community college in the US that has an FAA approved 141 and VA program that is a public private partnership,” Darryl Centanni, president of D2 Government Solutions (D2GS), said.
This is a unique program that streamlines the learning process allowing future pilots to earn their degree and license in two years. The student will undergo a challenging curriculum that combines classroom, simulator and flight training. The graduate will leave the program with 300 hours of flight time and all the necessary experience for a career with commercial airlines, general aviation, the aerospace industry or in state and federal aviation organizations.
“In the future you will see more parents and students spending their money on education that counts for something,” Centanni said. “For many years, universities have created programs that may be educational—but not beneficial as a profession or a career.”
The first year of the Aviation and Career Pilot Technology program began in the fall of 2019. The program is a joint effort between TFS and Craven CC and was the longtime dream of New Bern resident and TFS founder Thomas Dolder, who recently passed away. The class of 2019 has already seen 12 of their students complete their licensing and certification for the private pilot license with 10 more waiting in the wings to begin the process.
“It was sad not to have our colleague present to see the first class complete their private pilot certification,” Dave Ricker, CEO of D2GS, said. “But it’s a great day to rejoice with this accomplishment of his dream.”
Tradewind Flight Services has served North Carolina communities for the past 20 years by providing commercial flight training out of the New Bern Airport. In that time, it has trained over 9,000 pilots while providing surveillance services to commercial and government agencies. Their management team has over 70 years of combined experience overseeing aviation duties and government contracts.
“We are thrilled to be a part of the Eastern North Carolina community,” Ricker said. “Being part of the professional development of our residents is quite an honor.”
In January of 2019, Tradewind Flight Services was purchased by D2 Government Solutions. Established in 2010, D2GS is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOB) that provides a wide range of aviation support and maintenance service solutions to government and commercial clients. It is owned and managed by retired US Naval Aviators along with a dedicated staff of support professionals. The company specializes in aviation and administrative services as a DoD contractor that employees over 300 personnel nationwide.
“Everyday, working at D2GS, allows me to continue my lifework of contributing to excellence in aviation,” Mr. Ricker said.