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New Kamloops flight school offering ultra light training

The Zenair ultra light aircraft owned by Vayu Aviation.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Vayu Aviation
April 11, 2021 - 2:00 PM

A new Kamloops flight school is attracting pilots and newbies alike.

Praveen Premchandran, chief flight instructor with Vayu Aviation, said the new fixed-wing flight school in the city has been a long-time goal.

Premchandran is one of three partners of Vayu Aviation including Vignesh Rajasekar and Matt Erhardt that got off the ground in November 2020.

“I was in Calgary working for a regional airline and I was laid off in April and I’ve been laid off since then… and for the longest time I’ve been dabbling with the idea of starting my own flight school and not knowing when I would get hired back with the airline. We were talking and Vignesh said ‘hey why don’t we open one here?’” Premchandran said.

There is currently no other flight school in the city that provides ultralight training, Premchandran said. According to the flight school’s website, an Ultralight Pilot Permit is required for someone who wishes to operate ultralight airplanes including powered parachutes, powered paragliders, weight-shift trikes and two or three-axis fixed wing airplanes under 1200-pound maximum take-off weight.

READ MORE: Kelowna to Montreal flights from Air Canada to start this summer

Premchandran and Rajasekar have taught in the community before and they’ve been spreading the word for the new flight school through social media and through the aviation community.

“A lot of legwork has been going through and we’ve definitely seen some results. With the pandemic and everything, I think we’re doing well. Obviously we could do a lot better as things get easier and as people get to know more about us. It’s definitely been pretty overwhelming the response from the community, you know people hearing about a flight school and wanting to get flying,” Premchandran said.

The flight school offers both the ultra-light training and regular fixed-wing training and aspirational pilots can rent the planes to complete the required hours to obtain a commercial pilot’s licence, he said.

Interest for flight training is coming from a broad age-range, he said.

“We’ve had interest from someone has young as 12-and-a-half,” he said.

After offering a discovery flight to the youth, he was hooked and can’t wait to get his student licence, Premchandran said, adding that retirees and those who already have a pilot’s licence but just want to rent the planes are also expressing interest.

The company’s ultra light basic packages costs $3,000 but flights can also be on a pay as you go basis.

The long-term plan is to keep expanding the flight school and maybe partner with TRU one day, Premchandran said.

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