For Immediate Release


Contact:          Katie Wassmer                                     David Taylor   

                        Thompson & Berry PR                                     Olive Branch Airport

                        (901) 251-5103                                               (901) 521-9439


AirVenture Flight Center Introduces ‘Zero to Jet’

Accelerated Regional Airline Training Program


MEMPHIS, Tennessee, June XX, 2007 – AirVenture Flight Center, located at Olive Branch Airport in Olive Branch, Mississippi, is now offering an accelerated pilot training program. The program, called “Zero to Jet,” is an intensive five month course that will qualify pilot candidates for interviews with regional airline carriers such as Mesa, Mesaba and Pinnacle.

            Zero to Jet is the only fast-track program of its kind offered in the Midsouth.

            The introduction of the expedited training program is the result of a nationwide pilot shortage, according to AirVenture Flight Center Director Ken Hammerton.

            “Regional airlines are experiencing a pilot shortage for many reasons, one of which is the number of baby boomer pilots that have reached the mandatory retirement age of 60,” said Hammerton. “Fast-track programs such as this are becoming popular around the world, as a way to get potential pilots in the air quickly and safely.”

             During the five months of training, pilot candidates will receive multi-engine, commercial and instrument ratings, 260 hours of flight time and 100 hours of multi-engine time. Professional flight instructors will guide candidates through both ground and in-flight lessons using Cessna course materials.

Clients are in the air at least twice a day, for a total of about three hours a day. Each student is given homework nightly and expected to report back each day ready to work. A dedicated staff of instructors meet each week about the pilot candidates, and discuss the progress of each.

“If a client is not making progress, or does not show the potential to become a pilot, we let them know,” said Hammerton. “Being a pilot is not for everyone, and we only allow the best to move forward in the program.”     

            Similar programs have been successful in other parts of the United States, but the cost associated with Zero to Jet is less than other programs found throughout the country. The total package investment for the Zero to Jet program is around $43,750.

            “We assist pilots with financing, and offer the chance to earn up to 50 college credits at select universities,” said Hammerton. “Of course, credit is also given for previous experience and ratings, so if you’re not at “zero” when you start, we can create a program for you.”

            AirVenture Flight Center runs a comprehensive background check on all candidates for the program. Only U.S. citizens with no record of federal criminal offenses are considered. Non-U.S. citizen must go through a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) approval process, which can be lengthy.

In addition to the Zero to Jet program, AirVenture Flight Center offers several pilot training programs, for recreational fliers and for those who are pursuing flying as a career. It is also an aircraft rental and sales center, and offers aircraft maintenance under the VectairUSA name.

            “Our goal with Zero to Jet is to allow those with a love for aviation to learn from superior instructors and become qualified to pursue an aviation career,” said Hammerton. “We are excited about this program and look forward to training tomorrow’s pilots.”

For more information on the Zero to Jet program, or any of the other programs offered at AirVenture Flight School, call (901) 521-1068 or (662) 895-9752, or visit online at




About Olive Branch Airport

A subsidiary of Belz Metro Industrial Park, Olive Branch Airport is one of the busiest airports in Mississippi. There are currently close to 200 aircraft based at the Olive Branch Airport. In addition to its on-site flight school, AirVenture Flight Center, Olive Branch Airport landside facilities include a general aviation terminal, 24 conventional hangars, 26 T-hangar units and 140 paved tie-down spaces. The airport is located 30 minutes from Memphis and offers on-site car rental and lodging arrangements at the nearby Whispering Woods Conference Center. For more information concerning Olive Branch Airport, contact David Taylor at (901) 521-9439.