GRAYSON COUNTY, TX - Commercial pilots are in high demand right now, and the U.S. Aviation Academy in Grayson County is helping by training flight students and supplying airlines around the world with pilots. News 12 spent the morning at the academy, and took to the skies for a first hand look at flight training.
Before flying up up and away, new pilots at the U.S. Aviation Academy start their training in a flight simulator.
News 12 spent Wednesday morning at the flight school at NTRA's Perrin Field, where our instructor, Ashley Borowski, showed me the basics of flying in the simulator.
"It's very unique in that it has full motion. It gives us a little more detail, makes it feel more like a real airplane," said vice president and general manager of the academy, Ray Heyde.
It can simulate different locations and climates like the Vegas Strip. News 12 chief photographer Craig Luthe also tried it -- landing in Aspen, Colorado.
The Academy's Executive VP Mark Taylor says students come from across the globe to train here, representing 26 different countries.
"We also have an air force contract that enables us to reach out, so far our last group was from Poland," said Taylor.
He says the Academy has been in Grayson County for almost two years, and now generates about $7 million for the local economy.
Heyde says anyone can get their pilot's license through the program, which typically takes 11 months.
"I've never seen a person that wanted to fly, that could not be trained to fly," said Heyde.
After pre-flight checks with Ashley, we tested that theory! After we were cleared for take off we soared over Sherman, Denison, and Lake Texoma.
Taylor says anyone interested in flight lessons can contact the U.S. Aviation Academy.