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Aerospace

CRAFT becomes 1st Part 141 flight training school in Lowcountry

Aerospace
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Harrison Hunt, Charleston South University student, and Col. CJ Will, founding chair of CSU’s Aeronautics Department, discuss flight logistics at the Summerville Airport. (Photo/Teri Errico Griffis)Get ready for takeoff.

Charleston Regional Accelerated Flight Training and Simulation has received a Provisional Part 141 Training approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, the flight school said in a news release. The accreditation makes CRAFT only the second school in South Carolina and the first in Charleston approved by the FAA to offer Part 141 courses for flight training.

CRAFT is a partner of Charleston Southern University’s new aeronautics program. CSU will be offering its Bachelor of Science in aeronautics program in the fall as way to address a shortage of commercial and military pilots. The college provides the ground training, and CRAFT provides the flight training.

CRAFT co-owner Amanda Aldea said in the release that the FAA designation was necessary for CSU to be able to offer its program.

“Now that we can offer both Part 141 and Part 61 training, it means we can offer more flexibility to our students,” Aldea said. “We can cater to both career-minded pilots who are training or retraining on new equipment and the weekend hobbyist who is looking to challenge themselves.”

Aldea and her husband Jay Aldea own CRAFT Flight School and run the programs at the Charleston International Airport and Summerville Airport with their partner Barry Emerson. Together with Col. CJ Will, founding chair of CSU’s Aeronautics Department, they have helped the collegiate program get off the ground.

“There has always been a strong relationship between South Carolina’s economy and the aviation sector. I’m for any initiative that helps the community learn about and enjoy aviation,” said Terry Connorton, president of S.C. Aviation Association. “What CRAFT is doing will help promote aviation as a viable career path, especially with younger people. This is really key to meeting the need for pilots in the industry.”

Part 141 flight school provides structured training curriculum for pilots. Students must adhere to a rigid timetable and perform a minimum of 35 hours for a private pilot certificate or 190 hours for a commercial pilot license. Part 61’s minimum hours are 40 and 250, respectively.

While Part 61 training allows pilots a more flexible schedule that they can customize, the longer hours and inconsistent training end up costing more. The main advantage of Part 141 flight school is that students can progress quicker and gain certificates with fewer hours in the air. Additionally, the FAA regularly reviews Part 141 curriculum for consistency, continuity and acceptable flight training practices

“Organizing and leading our flight school through the FAA accreditation process has been a substantial and serious undertaking,” Aldea said. “But it’s a goal we’ve been working toward ever since we bought CRAFT in 2019. It feels really good.”

Reach Teri Errico Griffis at 843-849-3144.

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