Pinnacle Aviation Academy (PAA) started operations in 1997. Prior to our opening, many years of preparation and planning occurred. We found the general aviation flight training industry to be in a tail slide. Cessna Aircraft Company made the decision to stop producing single and multi engine piston aircraft in 1985 and concentrate on their Citation Jet programs. Most of the other general aviation manufacturers had either stopped piston aircraft production or had reduced their manufacturing lines to only a few aircraft per year.
Most flight training schools had either run down aircraft or soon to be run down aircraft because replacements were not being built. There had been an attitude for years regarding flight training and rental aircraft that said “Why worry about paint and interior quality, they are only rental aircraft.” A similar feeling existed about maintenance. “The less maintenance the better, after all, they are only rental aircraft.” This attitude continued at many flight schools for years. During that time new student pilot enrollments continued to dwindle.
In 1985, we had a theory! What if we provided a quality refurbished aircraft with excellent paint, interior, modern avionics and outstanding maintenance for lease to a flight school? We guessed that the school would be excited to get the aircraft on lease, the students and renters would want to fly the aircraft more than the other ones available. We theorized they might agree to pay a slightly higher rental rate for an aircraft they would be proud of when taking their families and friends flying. Pilots would feel safer with a well maintained aircraft.
Before long we found our theory to be right! Our plan was “Let’s make the paint and interior near perfect. We can upgrade the avionics, install factory overhauled engines and provide excellent maintenance because it is a rental aircraft.”
Being employed as an officer in a corporation, I enjoyed our “side business” of leasing aircraft. We incorporated Pinnacle Aviation Services, Inc. and started refurbishing more aircraft and leasing them to flight schools. We found as we grew, so did the flight schools.
By 1997, our business plan was proven. Leaving my corporate job we decided to open Pinnacle Aviation Academy, Inc. Our objective was to provide quality at a competitive price for our customers. We focused on the quality of our aircraft, our staff and our facilities. Our prices were a little higher than our competition, but we believe our pricing reflected excellent value.
The timing was perfect! In 1997, student pilot enrollments reversed its nearly two-decade decline. Cessna started producing single engine piston aircraft again. The other aircraft manufactures also started to increase their production.
Shortly after opening, Pinnacle Aviation Academy became FAA approved for flight training (FAR 141); we were approved by the VA to train veterans and we became a Cessna Pilot Center. Our flight line began filling up with factory fresh Cessna 172R models. Today we own about 95% of the aircraft we operate.
Many more customers saw the value in our staff and our aircraft. We expanded our office four times in our first five years of business. In 2000, the FAA granted Pinnacle Aviation Academy “Examining Authority”. We were approved to give our own in-house check rides for many of our training courses. Our approval includes Private Pilot-Single Engine, Multi-Engine VFR, Multi-Engine IFR, Instrument Rating, Commercial Pilot-Single Engine and Multi-Engine IFR. Since 2005 we have consistently been in the top 10 Cessna Pilot Centers in the world. In 2010 we won the Cessna Platinum Award, this award goes to the flight school that Cessna feels exceeds operational standards and excels in flight training. In 2013 we were chosen to join the Cessna Pilot Center Advisory Group to provide consultation to Cessna Aircraft Company.
Pinnacle Aviation Academy – Founders
Pinnacle Aviation Academy Management Team
George McJimsey – Sheri McJimsey
In 1992, we purchased an ownership interest in our maintenance shop, LEA, Inc. (Leading Edge Aviation). Seven years prior, we choose Leading Edge Aviation to maintain our lease aircraft because of the quality of their work. We were pleased they offered an ownership interest to us. In 2006 we purchased a 100% ownership of LEA, Inc. Today Leading Edge Aviation, Inc. makes up an important part of our business association with Pinnacle Aviation Academy, Inc. and Pinnacle Aviation Services, Inc.
All of our staff at Pinnacle Aviation Academy is excited about introducing aviation to our students and assisting in the fulfillment of their professional pilot or general aviation goals. Pinnacle Aviation Academy continues to be dedicated to excellence.
Contact us today so we can help you Realize Your Dreams . . . FLY!
|George W. McJimsey||Sharon E. (Sheri) McJimsey|
|President||Chief Financial Officer|
|Airline Transport Pilot|
|CFI, CFII, MEI|
|FAA Airman Certification Rep.|