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Indianapolis flight school brings one-of-a-kind instruction to future pilots

LIFT Academy, founded in 2018, helps people fulfill their dream of becoming a pilot.

INDIANAPOLIS — For some, there's no thrill like sitting in the cockpit of an airplane. LIFT Academy, founded in 2018, helps people fulfill their dream of becoming a pilot.

“I could tell you I came actually here with zero experience," said Severino Alforeza, a certified flight instructor at LIFT. “I think that's one thing that people are kind of afraid of getting into, is they don't know how they're able to do such a thing.” 

This pilot school started out of necessity.

“We're going to need thousands of pilots over the next few years to fill the need for them in the airlines," said assistant chief flight instructor Sarah Hayward. "Republic [Airways] said, 'What are we going to do about this?' So they started LIFT as an opportunity to home-grow their own pilots.” 

After school, graduates have a job lined up with Republic Airways.

“We are super innovative in that we are owned by an airline," said Hayward. "You do your training and you go straight into that as opposed to doing your training, finishing, and then having to apply somewhere else.” 

“I thought that was such an amazing thing where it took away the anxiety or the kind of question mark that people have after training, where do I go? Do I have something lined up for me?" said Alforeza.

But becoming a pilot isn’t easy, even if it is an accelerated program that can be completed in as little as 36 months.

“It is a lot of work. I won't lie to you. You have to be dedicated to this," said Hayward. “We're expecting students to start from zero time and finish with all of their certificates and ratings through commercial multi-engine in a year and then turn around and instruct. You have to be dedicated to come in.” 

Pilots must have 1,500 hours of flight time to begin training as a commercial pilot for Republic Airways. LIFT is the only flight academy that is owned and operated by a commercial airline.

LIFT Academy will be hosting an open house at its facility on Thursday, Feb. 3 from 4-7 p.m. For more information, visit flywithlift.com.

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