Air education
Flight school hires new instructor

Doug Ashbury & Donna Huffam
Northern News Services

Yellowknife ( Jun 07/00) - Air 2000, Yellowknife's only flight school, has a new chief instructor at the helm.

Brian Murray arrived last week from Calgary, Alta., to replace Debbie Cameron. Murray, who has been a pilot for 12 years, was a chief flight instructor in Alberta.

"I think it will be a matter of learning to cope with the weather systems," Murray said about flying in the North.

Air 2000, which operates out of the former Spur Aviation hangar at the Yellowknife Airport, has had about 60 students since opening in October 1999. Four have finished their private pilot licence.

The school uses a Cessna 150 for training.

Yellowknife resident Mildred Pittner is the majority owner and serves as company president. Two other Yk residents are also shareholders in the company.

John Gil-liland, who is among the flight school's latest group of students, said the passion for taking to the air seems to be stronger in the North.

"Flying is one of the things I always wanted to do. With all the aviation history here, this seems like a good place to do it," the retired geologist said.

The school offers a basic recreational pilot permit, requiring 25 hours flight time and two Transport Canada exams. The more intensive private pilot licence requires a minimum 45 hours of flight time, passing the Transport Canada flight and written test, and 40 hours of ground school.

Night flying and float plane flying endorsements are also available.

Students can expect to pay at least $4,000 for a recreational pilot permit. The price includes ground school, books and flying time.

A private pilot licence will cost about $6,300, and you can expect to pay between $8,000 to $10,000 for a commercial licence.

A commercial pilot licence requires a private pilot licence and minimum of 200 hours flight time, including at least 30 hours of solo flight time. Students must also pass the Transport Canada exams and attend 40 hours of ground school.

A company spokesperson said Northerners often log more flying time than what is required.