Phillips Aviation flight school comes to Hammonton Municipal Airport
HAMMONTON—Launching into the skies at the Hammonton Municipal Airport on Sept. 1 is Phillips Aviation, a new flight school.
Phillips Aviation owner Michael Phillips said there’s a huge demand for pilots.
“We’ve got airlines shutting down because they don’t have pilots and it all started around COVID-19 because when COVID-19 hit, everybody panicked and stopped traveling,” Phillips said.
Now more people are traveling after the pandemic, which means there’s a need for pilots.
There are different certifications and licenses people can receive after flying for a certain number of hours. For example, there’s a minimum of 40 hours to get a private pilot license.
After flying in the air for more hours, people can get their instrument rating, multi-engine rating, commercial license and certified flight instructor license (CFI) at Phillips Aviation.
Phillips said most pilots build up their flying hours by teaching students once they get their CFI.
“What they’ll do is they’ll become a flight instructor because you can get your flight instructor license at 250 hours after you get your commercial license, so your commercial you have to have 250 hours then you can get your instructor license right after that,” Phillips said.
After a pilot earns their CFI, they can get a CFII, which means they can teach people how to fly instrument.
“Once they train students 1,250 hours, then they are free to go to the airlines and the airlines will hire them instantly right now because the demand is absolutely crazy,” Phillips said.
Phillips, who is 60, said he thought about going to the airlines, but the retirement age for an airline captain is 65 and he’d rather do the flight school.
“Flying has been my passion. I’d been a pilot for 38 years. I got my license when I was 22 and I just love it,” Phillips said. “Somebody told me if you want to be happy in life, do something you’re passionate about; do something you love, and they say when you do something you love, you never work a day in your life.”
Phillips Aviation bought land at the airport and Phillips said they plan on building two hangers with offices and simulators inside.
When the two facilities will be built depends on the success of the flight school.
“That depends on how fast the flight school grows because ultimately we have to use the revenue from the flight school to further everything else,” Phillips said.
The cost of flight school can be an obstacle for some people because there is no government financing for flight training.
An average student will probably spend $8,000 to $12,000 to get their private pilot license, Phillips said, and for a student to become a commercial pilot, it can cost them from $80,000 to $100,000.
However, one thing that sets Phillips Aviation apart from other flight schools according to flight instructor Steve Davis, is they aren’t doing it for the money, they are doing it for the dream.
“A lot of instructors and schools it’s all about the money. Here it’s more about a dream and I don’t fly for the money. I have money, but I get the enjoyment and Mike and I share this where we love to fly. We love to help people,” Davis said.
Davis, 65, looks forward to helping students fly.
“I look forward to helping the kids and really getting some good students in and that’s what gets you excited when you’ve got somebody who’s really motivated and they’re interested,” Davis said.
Davis and Phillips have known each other for about 20 years. Davis used to be Phillips’ dentist and they would share stories about flying.
“Being a dentist was my job. Flying was my love,” Davis said.
After a student goes through the background check, gets their third-class medical and driver’s license, their flight training can begin.
Those interested in the flight school can create their own schedule. Some classes can be 1-on-1 while other classes can be in a group.
Phillips said the Hammonton airport will become more pivotal as time goes on.
“I think Hammonton, as time goes on, this airport is probably going to expand and develop and because it’s not too far from the shore, it’s going to become more pivotal as time goes on,” Phillips said.
To learn more about the flight school, call Phillips at (856) 701-1339.