You can fly...
flight training financing made easy!
A Message from the Founder
of Pilot Finance, Inc.
22 years ago - at the age of 50 - I had built a modestly successful career in the commercial and consumer finance industry. My family was healthy and happy. We had two adolescent children at home. For the first time in my life, I felt I had the time and resources to pursue my lifetime dream of becoming a Private Pilot and owning an aircraft my family could use for new adventures.
My Private Pilot flight training intersected with my career knowledge. I immediately started wondering and asking everyone about the financial obstacles faced by beginning Private Pilot and Instrument flight students just like myself. I think the owners of my flight school got tired of my questions! In that environment, I slowly developed what might become a “business plan.” At first, I just carried the thoughts in my head. Then, bit-by-bit I committed them to paper and computer files. I felt my “plan” had to provide answers to two questions:
- Benefits for All (?)
How could flight training financing be structured to enable more students to sign up and start training -- thereby helping students, flight schools and general aviation -- all at the same time?
- Financial Protection for All (?)
How could this be done in a financially sustainable manner while simultaneously providing financial protection for schools and students?
My specific goals for that #2 item were: Schools should never have to worry about collecting receivables for services they delivered to financed students. At the same time, students should never risk having to pay for training they did not receive. That last thing was important because (as everyone knows) students sometimes have to discontinue their training for an unforeseeable reason. There can even be cases were flight schools go out of business. Those messy business realities had to be addressed and avoided!
From there, the idea of Pilot Finance, Inc. grew over time. Legally proper and enforceable forms were developed. Marketing plans were created to spread the word and sign up schools. A rudimentary website was created to use this newfangled thing called the World Wide Web. Yes, it really was “newfangled” back then!
We are particularly proud of how Pilot Finance grew organically to its current size over 15-20 years. This growth occurred almost exclusively by word of mouth between potential students and flight schools. More than 2,000 flight schools were signed up - one at a time. Many of those schools have changed hands or closed. However, more than 1,000 are still active. Meanwhile thousands and thousands of flight students have financed training that would have been out of their reach were it not for our programs. For us, the very sweetest reward is that several “beginner” Private Pilot finance customers of ours continued their training and they now own or manage flight schools that offer our programs! It is our own little “Circle of Life.” That is extremely gratifying to all of us here.
Now, it is time for my family and I to move on to a new phase of life. The operating assets of Pilot Finance are being sold to a new entity who will quite properly operate under the name “Pilot Finance.” Meanwhile, the legacy corporation “Pilot Finance, Inc.” will be wound down over several years.
Here is the most important thing for you to know. The new owners became interested in Pilot Finance because of our record of stability and strength. They were moved to acquire our operating assets because they want to continue (not change) the programs that have been successful for us. While evolution is inevitable in any organization, no large changes are expected at this time. Of course, in the future things may get better for schools and students as the company takes advantage of new ideas and technologies.
Please accept my warm personal thanks for your interest and support of Pilot Finance in the past, present and future. You are the reason this organization has worked so well!
Founder and President
Pilot Finance, Inc.