A Living Legend of Aviation, helicopter pilot Chuck Aaron and his advanced flight academy will become part of Southern Utah University to offer the only collegiate helicopter upset recovery and advanced instrument flight training in the world. The advanced training will give industry professionals the chance to learn the critical decision making and flight skills necessary to handle less than ideal weather and visibility conditions.
“Chuck Aaron’s addition to SUU Aerospace represents a significant leap in our training capabilities,” said Michael Mower, executive director of SUU Aviation. “Chuck brings almost five decades of experience, including work with NASA’s Space Shuttle program, the US Army’s Apache test pilot Targeting System (TADDS-PNVS) program, various movies, and as the Red Bull helicopter pilot. His research into advanced flight and safety techniques will allow SUU Aerospace to advance Chuck’s already groundbreaking work further.”
Aaron is the only pilot in the world licensed by the FAA to teach & perform helicopter aerobatics and the only one of two teaching upset recovery training in a helicopter. Among many accomplishments, Aaron was the first Red Bull helicopter Aerobatic pilot starting in 2005 and a recognized experimental test pilot by the prestigious SETP in 2011. In 2019, Aaron opened a helicopter aerobatics flight school and began offering the first and only upset recovery training program in the world, not using a simulator. The Chuck Aaron Academy at SUU is in development and will be available for pilots in the coming months.
“It is an honor to work side by side with SUU Aviation in order for me to “Pass the Torch” in improving the safety of the helicopter industry,” said Aaron. “Advanced instrument and upset training have been passions of mine for a very long time, and I am excited to see this training taken to the next level. This type of safety training needs to become standard in the industry. My partnership with SUU Aviation will allow for more pilots to receive this critical training. I wholeheartedly believe the training provided by The Chuck Aaron Academy at SUU will help save lives.”
Industry professionals will complete the new program in Aaron’s BO-105 helicopter, referred to as “The Animal”. To qualify for training, helicopter pilots will need the endorsement of their current industry employer and/or go through an interview process.
There have been several high profile accidents in the last few years that resulted from pilots flying into low visibility conditions. SUU Aviation’s Chuck Aaron Academy will train these pilots to prevent and safely exit unusual attitudes brought on by hazardous weather conditions.
Aaron and a select group of SUU’s pilots will teach others how to navigate these deadly scenarios safely. Aaron’s training and this specialized helicopter will allow SUU and The Chuck Aaron Academy to advance research into safety of flight and ground initiatives that had never been contemplated.
“We will be incorporating this advanced training into our short term, intensive programs,” said Mower. “The flight portions of these programs are geared toward pilots already in the industry. While our students will not directly participate in the flight portion of the training, the aeronautical knowledge that Chuck brings to the program will be incorporated into all aspects of our ground training. This transfer of knowledge ensures that Chuck Aaron’s legacy is passed on to the next generation of aviators.”
SUU’s College of Aerospace Sciences has more than 400 students from around the world with 47 states represented. The university’s fleet includes 16 airplanes, 23 helicopters by the end of 2020, and state of the art maintenance training facilities. SUU Aviation offers advanced and relevant flight training in the safest and most efficient way possible. The program continues to be on the cutting edge of the industry, training tomorrow’s aviation leaders.
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