Will Offer Once-Private Aviation Education To The Public
For over 30 years, flight training has been offered by Bob Jones University (BJU) in Greenville, SC. Its purpose was to train students interested in missionary work in remote locations around the world, as well as, students wanting a career in commercial aviation which includes becoming a corporate or airline pilots. Their graduates can be found helping people in remote areas all over the world by utilizing aviation’s incredible reach. Aircraft can go places where cars and boats cannot. Others are involved in transporting people and freight all over the U.S.
“Very few people in Greenville’s main populous were aware of this program”, stated Dimitri Partafyllas, Owner of Stratos Aviation and a mechanical engineer who has held various management positions within the automotive industry for over 20 years. “In 1998, after being transferred to Greenville by the company that employed me, I started flying out of the Downtown Airport. During my travels, I met a great local flight instructor, Tom Burke; and in 2007, he helped me get into the industry’s well-respected Flight Instructor Training Program at BJU. Training under Tom and another great instructor, Cecil Tune, further increased my respect for the excellent program that they offered.” Since graduating from the Flight Instructor Training Program, Partafyllas has provided flight instruction to many local residents, as well as, international business people who reside in Greenville. Later he formed Stratos Aviation, which
offers aircraft for rent, Discovery Flights and caters to training busy professionals for business and recreational flying.
In 2011, BJU announced that several programs including aviation, art education, camp ministries, electronics and computer technology, French, German and automotive service would be phased out as students enrolled in the affected curriculum graduated. Upon hearing this news, a few of the aviation program’s long time instructors approached BJU with the idea that maybe they could slowly take the controls of the aviation school, to keep it flying so others could too! USAeroFlight, LLC was born!
The founders of USAeroFlight, LLC formed contractual agreements with BJU and North Greenville University for pilot training that grants college credit towards an appropriate degree and the Federal Aviation Administration is in the process of transferring the long standing and proven Bob Jones University part 141 flight school certificate and curriculum into the name of USAeroFlight, LLC.
"The current leadership of USAeroFlight, LLC has a diverse background in military, airline, missionary and corporate flight operations, as well as, many subsequent years of full-time dedicated professional service as educators and flight instructors. The USAeroFlight, LLC curriculum has been developed and proven over decades of teaching and refinements. “The market we were missing was the non-academic, public sector business clients," stated Brett Zukowski, part owner of USAeroTech Institute and USAeroFlight, LLC. This brought them to their past student and owner of Stratos Aviation, Dimitri Partafyllas, and negotiations to form an agreement between them to share their aviation resources began! "The goal is to eventually completely merge our companies. Until that occurs, both companies students will enjoy access to a combined larger fleet of various aircraft (Diamond 20, Diamond 40 aircraft with modern Garmin 430 GPS and G-1000 avionics, as well as, a Cessna 172 RG, Piper Aztec
and a Piper Warrior) for training or rental, many educational tools, like a flight simulator, and a more diverse group of experienced instructors, then they would have had training with either company alone," stated Partafyllas. "USAeroFlight or BJU has never had an office in the main terminal, offered aircraft for rent or Discovery Flights. We are happy to now offer these services to our clients," stated Zukowski.
Among the many experienced instructors at USAeroFlight, LLC are Thomas Allen Burke, the first Greenville resident to earn the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) distinguished Wright Brothers’ Master Pilot Award which honors those with exhibited professionalism, skill and aviation expertise for 50 or more consecutive years of piloting aircraft; and since 1990 Burke has served as a Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) for the FAA in South Carolina. Another USAeroFlight, LLC teacher is Cecil Tune, whose 50 plus years of service to the aviation industry was recently recognized by the naming of an award after him by the South Carolina Aviation Safety Council.
Are more employees needed in the aviation industry? Yes. The 2012 Boeing Pilot & Technician Outlook report projects a need for 460,000 new commercial airline pilots and 601,000 maintenance technicians.
Almost two years ago, USAeroTech, LLC made news when it was formed to offer the former BJU Aircraft Maintenance Training Program to the public. This newly formed one-year accelerated aircraft maintenance training program was later the recipient of a FedEx donated Boeing 727, given to provide critical hands-on training to the next generation of aircraft technicians. USAeroFlight, LLC is now following its flight path allowing the general public to be educated in a very successful, former private program!