Ollie Pennington, managing director of Bournemouth Helicopters and sister company Solent School of Flying, says that he is delighted that Jim has qualified for the role: “His determination over the years has paid off. Jim is very popular with the student pilots he instructs on a regular basis, and people who take one off introductory flights.”
Jim, 36 from Plymouth, admits that he always had an interest in aviation and wanted to learn to fly aeroplanes from a young age inspired by his father who started to train for his Private Pilots Licence.
“Whilst at University of Hertfordshire as an aerospace engineering student, I had a trial lesson in an R22 helicopter and from that moment I knew I wanted to become a commercial helicopter pilot. It’s great to now be made CFI where my initial training started.”
Bournemouth Helicopters and its fixed wing (plane) sister company Solent School of Flying was launched in 1994 and is Dorset’s premier helicopter and fixed wing flight training centre. With a team of 10 instructors and operational staff, the companies operate a fleet of four helicopters and four aeroplanes with a value exceeding £3 million.
The companies train up to 20 student pilots to learn to fly and gain their pilot’s licence a year, and offer training to those who wish to gain their Commercial Pilot’s licence to work as instructors, charter or airline pilots.