LIFT Academy Turns Three

This past month, on September 4, we celebrated LIFT’s third anniversary since we welcomed our first students to begin flight training with us. That first class was 12 students, and just three years later each of our students, instructors and staff have built LIFT to become one of the largest flight training programs in the country. And those students are well on their way toward living out their dreams as airline pilots. In fact, many of them are already flying for Republic Airways. 

What’s the same at LIFT?

The aviation industry has seen many changes in the last 18 months due to COVID-19. Throughout the pandemic, we continued welcoming new classes, and our students kept training, passing check rides and celebrating graduations from our program. The goal when LIFT Academy opened in September 2018 was to prepare pilots for careers at Republic Airways – and we are doing just that! We started sending LIFT students to Republic this past summer. As our students continue to graduate from our program with their hours built, more and more will fulfill their dreams of flying as an airline pilot with Republic Airways.

Our focus on making the cockpit and airline maintenance more diverse never shifted either. LIFT continues its efforts in making aviation more attainable and accessible to all who have the will and skill to fly. With our airline-focused curriculum in place, we’re training pilots to be airline ready from the moment they begin training, and we’re seeing our classes welcome more women and people of color than the national average of commercial aviators—all on their way to become #RepublicReady.  

LIFT by the numbers

  • All time first-attempt checkride passes and knowledge exams: 1,549
  • 2021 first-attempt checkride passes: 93.4%

So what’s new? 

This past year we’ve also made a few changes to make LIFT even better for our students and staff.  

In December 2020, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted us the examining authority for the Private Pilot, Instrument Rating and Commercial Pilot courses. This is a huge deal in aviation training. We are the first flight school in Indiana to be granted this authority and one of less than 10% of flight schools in the country with examining authority!

What does this mean for our students? Instead of them having to wait for check rides – sometimes for weeks or even months! – our students complete end-of-course checks with designated LIFT check instructors to keep their training on course. Read more about what this means for our students here – 

The FAA also approved our proprietary computer-based training curriculum for Private Pilot and Instrument courses, meaning our students have an interactive digital learning experience that reflects our airline readiness trainingThe curriculum promotes individualized learning, enabling students to progress through the program while also retaining lessons from previous courses as they accelerate through their flight training. 

In less than three years, the flight operations team and flight instructors planned content, scripted lessons and prepared quizzes for full private pilot and instrument curricula as well as received FAA approval for its use in training our 300 students. 

Recently LIFT and Cape Air announced a partnership that will allow LIFT students who have graduated from the program and have built up flight hours to transition to Cape Air as airline pilots to time build until they are ready to transition to Republic as First Officers. This will allow our students an alternative path for time building in addition to being Certified Flight Instructors. As Cape Air pilots, they will be immersed in the airline way of life – serving passengers, flying to unique destinations and learning valuable skills that will prepare them for Republic. For more about this partnership, read our blog post here – 

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