Cirrus Aircraft has started delivering its TRAC20 training aircraft to United Aviate Academy, part of a twenty-five aircraft order placed by the school last February. The order also includes options for fifty additional TRAC20 aeroplanes, all to be used for initial pilot training at the academy.
The Academy commenced operations in February 2020, when United Airlines purchased Westwind School of Aeronautics as an expansion of its Aviate pilot development and recruitment program. It welcomed its first class of students in December 2021. The school offers a one-year ab initio training program at Arizona’s Phoenix Goodyear Airport, after which graduates can build time at partner schools and Part 135 operators before moving to a United Express carrier.
In related news reported by the portal AvWeb, United has also announced that it will start recruiting from American Eagle, the regional operator owned by archrival American Airlines. The move highlights the commitment of United to secure a substantial number of pilots over the next several years: in the past United had avoided recruiting from American Eagle, preferring instead to source its new First Officers from its own regional subsidiary, United Express. And in another sign that United is feeling under pressure to have enough pilots on its roster, the company also agreed to a 14.5% pay raise for its flightcrews.