Sling Pilot Academy Community Citizenship

Uplifting Lives

Sling Pilot Academy cares deeply about the Torrance community which is home to so many of us personally and to our business. It is where we have grown our business for well over a decade into a special place for so many people to benefit from.

Sling Pilot Academy (and The Airplane Factory) are proud of the what we have been able to achieve in terms of uplifting the lives of our employees and students in the areas we operate.

  • We employ over 103 people, many from the local area.
  • We have close to 200 full-time students
  • Our students and employees patronize local restaurants and businesses, providing income to Torrance businesses

Our students are both recent High School graduates, and ‘career-changers’ in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. What they all have in common is a strong love for aviation and a dream, which was often for a long time forgotten, that they could one day be an airline pilot. Many of them have made a very bold decision to quit their current jobs and come to Sling Pilot Academy in Torrance to pursue their dreams of becoming an airline pilot.

Those that achieve this dream (and most graduates from Sling Pilot Academy do) usually go on to being the highest-paid members of their extended families, making upwards of $500,000 a year in their senior years, uplifting themselves and their entire families, and setting an example for the next generations in their families to follow. An example of success, passion for what you do, and reaching new heights.

This is where we live:

Career-Changers:

Recent High School Grads:

Employment

103 families depend on Sling for their income.

Sling Pilot Academy (and The Airplane Factory) offer employment to residents of Torrance and the South Bay. We are proud of the careers that we are able to offer local residents to uplift their lives.

  • We employ over 103 people, many from the local area. We provide jobs in the following areas:
    • Accounting
    • Sales
    • Aircraft Builders/Technicians
    • Maintenance Technicians
    • Aircraft Dispatchers
    • Flight Instructors
    • Admin
    • Marketing
  • We have won awards from the South Bay Workforce Investment Board, and the US Senate, for our training and placement of local apprentices
  • Our employees patronize local restaurants and businesses, providing income to Torrance businesses
  • We pay Taxes to the City of Torrance for sales, purchases, fuel purchases and land leases

 

Apprenticeships

Sling Pilot Academy (and sister company The Airplane Factory) were awarded a Certificate of Recognition in 2022 from the South Bay Workforce Investment Board (SBWIB) for our contributions to business and economic vitality in the South Bay with our various apprenticeship programs to train residents to become aircraft builders and technicians.

 

What We are Doing to Reduce our Noise Footprint

Sling Pilot Academy cares about our community. We are residents as well as business operators. We do the following to minimize our impact on the community:

  • Quietest Airplanes
    We have selected with quietest airplanes available for our flight training. Our Sling airplanes use new-technology engines that are quieter and more fuel-efficient. Our airplanes never exceed the noise limits imposed by the City of Torrance. Normally our airplanes are in the low 60 dB – which is lower than ambient vehicle traffic noise and far below the noise limits established for the airport.
  • Noise Testing
    We have conducted noise tests to evaluate which procedures result in the lowest impact to the local community. We are constantly improving our procedures to have the least impact. Our most-recent testing concluding that reduced RPM when overflying noise-sensitive areas had the best results, hence our adoption of a procedure that has our pilots leveled off after a climb before overflying noise-sensitive areas.
  • New Technology
    We are exploring engine modifications, such as exhaust after mufflers, to further reduce our noise levels.
  • Meeting with the Community
    We have met with members of the community on multiple occasions and shown them our operation and efforts to make the least impact on the community. Almost completely, they have become convinced that our airplanes are not the primary aggravators as it pertains to noise. Older airplanes, and transient airplanes from other airports are more-often flying lower and producing more noise over their neighborhoods, often due to lack of local-area knowledge.

Sling Pilot Academy, while providing flight training (part of our nation’s critical infrastructure) to the next generation of airline pilots, will continue to work on ways to reduce our noise footprint.

 

New “Whisper” Model of our Airplane

Since mid-2023 we have been actively engaged in a Research & Development program to make our airplanes even quieter than they already are.

  • The program has focused on making the sound more pleasing to the human ear by decreasing the pitch and muffling the sound. We are going for a ‘low hum’.
  • Modifications include muffler and long Silencer, propeller and acoustic damping of the engine compartment.
  • The long Silencer (also known as a “Swiss Muffler”) extends under the fuselage and exits behind the wing, upwards, to limit noise on the ground.
  • Results are extremely encouraging and we intend to continue with this program until we find the best result to adopt fleet-wide.

Unleaded Gasoline

Most General Aviation (GA) propeller-driven airplanes use Avgas (100 Low Lead aviation fuel, which still contains some lead). The Federal Government and General Aviation Groups are working on the phaseout and replacement of leaded Avgas, but it is a long and complicated process for legacy GA aircraft.

Sling airplanes already use Unleaded Car Gas to run our engines, since the engines are a newer-technology, designed from the outset for Unleaded Gasoline

  • More environmentally-friendly
    Our airplanes primarily use Unleaded automobile gasoline instead of Avgas*

 


*At certain times of the year when automotive winter blend fuels are used we may use a small percentage of Avgas blended in with our Unleaded automotive fuel as a safety measure to prevent vapor lock.

Voluntary Procedures

In January 2023, Sling Pilot Academy and other flight schools based at KTOA made a “voluntary” agreement to follow enhanced noise abatement procedures to further minimize the impacts of the airport on noise-sensitive neighboring communities. Following these procedures is mandatory for all Sling Pilot Academy Students, Flight Instructors and Renters, except in instances where safety in jeopardized by following these procedures. Not following these procedures (when a safety hazard is not the reason for non-compliance) can be grounds for dismissal from the Academy as a Pilot or Instructor. So, we have volunteered to enter this agreement with the City of Torrance, but it is mandatory for our pilots, unless a safety hazard prevents following these procedures.

Signed Letter of Agreement (LOA) with the City of Torrance

In September 2023 Sling Pilot Academy became the first flight school at Torrance to sign the LOA with the City of Torrance, making our voluntary agreement “official”.

Noise Abatement Background

When it comes to following this Voluntary Noise Abatement Agreement, it is important to review some background, which can sometimes appear contradictory and difficult to understand. See our full procedure to understand:

KTOA Noise Abatement

Educating Pilots About Local Noise Mitigation Procedures

Pilots in the vast majority are rule-followers. Pilots want to do the right thing.

However, when flying from airport to airport it is hard to find information about each airport’s noise-sensitive areas and local procedures. For that reason education of pilots is a big part of what needs to happen to have a good result in airport noise reduction, since many pilots who fly into an airport are not locally-based. The majority of Torrance Airport operations are from non-based airplanes.

Fly Friendly Los Angeles is a consortium of flight schools and aircraft operators who have committed to the Fly Friendly Pledge.

The Fly Friendly Pledge is:

As pilots committed to being good neighbors we will:

  • Fly safely first, observing all FAA Regulations
  • Learn where the noise-sensitive areas are around all airports where operations are conducted, and avoid them as much as possible
  • Learn about, and follow, the noise abatement procedures at all airports where operations are conducted
  • Follow the Fly Friendly guidelines for each airport where operations are conducted, not just our own
  • Commit to having the lowest impact on all neighborhoods we fly over
  • Educate other pilots about the Fly Friendly Pledge

Recognition and Awards

Sling Pilot Academy (and sister company The Airplane Factory) are proud recipients of Certificates of Recognition from both the State of California Senate and State of California Assembly.

Our Value to the Community

Sling Pilot Academy (and The Airplane Factory) offer employment and revenue to the City of Torrance and its residents.

    • We employ over 103 people, many from the local area.
    • We have won awards from the South Bay Workforce Investment Board, and the US Senate, for our training and placement of local apprentices
    • We lease 32 rooms in the local area which provide housing for our Students, many from out-of-state.
    • We have close to 200 full-time students and over 200 part time students, many of which come from outside of our state
    • Our Students patronize local restaurants and businesses, providing income to Torrance businesses
    • We pay Taxes to the City of Torrance for sales, purchases, fuel purchases and land leases

Our Contribution to the Local Economy

With over 103 employees and 200 students in the program there is a total of 303 individuals spending in the local economy.  Based on rough calculations, they each would spend about $2,000 per month on housing, $300 per month on food, and $50 on transportation (gas for a car).  That’s a total of at least $2,350 per month per person, or a total of $712,050 per month spent into the local economy.

Also, the Academy spends over $50,000 per month on locally-purchased auto fuel–again bought in the local economy.

And, each student pays about $7,000 for check rides and exams during their 9-month program.  These fees are paid to local FAA officials and designees.  That adds another $58,333 per month paid into the local economy.

So, just considering the students’, employees’ and aircraft contributions to the local economy, that is $820,383 per month.  It is a well-documented fact that $1 added to an economy results in at least $2.50 in total community spending.  Applying this economic multiplier to the above results in a conclusion that the Sling Pilot Academy is worth a minimum of $2,050,958 per month to the community, or $26,611,500 per year!

 

Over $26MIL Per Year!

 

Sling Pilot Academy Awarded $500,000 FAA Workforce Development Grant
Enabling Community Uplift with Scholarships

Sling Pilot Academy received one of the 2022 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Workforce Development Grants amounting to almost $500,000. With this significant Grant, the Academy is set to uplift the Torrance and local area communities by providing invaluable opportunities for our very own residents.

The FAA grant comes as a recognition of Sling Pilot Academy’s commitment to excellence in flight training and its dedication to cultivating a skilled and diverse aviation workforce. The cornerstone of Sling Pilot Academy’s community uplift initiative is the provision of 25 Private Pilot Courses valued at an impressive $16,669 each. These grant courses have all been awarded to Torrance and local-area High School students and individuals, providing them the chance to pursue their dreams of becoming licensed Private Pilots, and paving the way for a promising career in aviation.

Mark Arranaga, School to Career Coordinator of the Torrance Unified School District, whose students received a portion of the scholarships granted, had this to say: “For the most part, young people’s dreams of becoming a pilot just remain a dream. They don’t know where to start or don’t have the means to obtain the proper education and training. That’s why the Sling scholarships are life-changing for our students. We currently have two eager students who were selected for the Private Pilot scholarship. Both students said this scholarship would help them fulfill their dream of becoming a pilot. Because of these scholarships, these two students will have their Private Pilot certificate before high school graduation and be on their way to obtaining their Commercial Pilot license. Thank you, Sling!”

In addition to the Private Pilot scholarships, Sling Pilot Academy is in the process of awarding a total of 160 Commercial Drone Pilot (Part 107 Remote Pilot) scholarships, aimed at further supporting the development of unmanned aviation professionals in the South Bay. The ever-expanding drone industry holds tremendous potential, and through these scholarships Sling Pilot Academy aims to equip individuals with the necessary skills to excel in this cutting-edge field.

Watch the Full Video: Our Impact:

Scholarships and Grants

Every year Sling Pilot Academy gives away one $20,000 scholarship to a young person to help make their pilot dreams come true.

And, thanks to an almost $500,000 Federal Grant, Sling Pilot Academy has injected almost half a Million Dollars into the local community.

200 Free Flights Event

To celebrate a new partnership with SkyWest Airlines, the largest regional airline in the world, Sling Pilot Academy held an event and gave away 200 free flights, mainly to South Bay High School and College Students

As seen on KTLA News

As seen on ABC7 News

Event covered in Daily Breeze:

Daily Breeze Article – click here

 

Sling Pilot Academy Recap Video

High School STEM Days – Airplane Building

Sling hosts a dozen High School STEM Days at the Torrance Airport every year. During these STEM days students are shown the airplane building and maintenance process and are taught how to accomplish certain fabrication and assembly tasks. This often involves pulling rivets on actual airplane parts.

Sling Pilot Academy Gives Back

Sling Pilot Academy regularly holds events to give back to the community:

  • We donate our airplanes regularly for Young Eagles flights, introducing teenagers to aviation at no charge
  • We donate our airplanes to Women in Aviation events several times per year, introducing young women to the world of aviation
  • We donate Simulator and Flight Instructor time every week to the Civil Air Patrol
  • We hold STEM events multiple times a year for Torrance School Students who come and fly our simulators and learn how to build airplanes in our airplane build facility.

 

Aviation Summer Camp – With Drone License

In 2023, Sling Pilot Academy began hosting Aviation Summer Camps for local-area High School Students and had a total of 4 classes (and 24 students) go through the program. The Aviation Summer camp included the student acquiring an FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot (Commercial Drone Pilot) Certificate, which allows graduates to work as commercial drone operators for real estate photography/videography and any other application.

The Summer Camps included knowledge study, aviation experience, airplane flight instruction, FAA-certified simulator instruction and practical drone flying.

[More Info]

Flight Training is Part of our Critical Infrastructure

The US Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is the national coordinator for critical infrastructure security and resilience. CISA has identified the parts of our infrastructure that are critical for the operation of our society. In the transportation sector (see https://www.cisa.gov/topics/critical-infrastructure-security-and-resilience/critical-infrastructure-sectors/transportation-systems-sector) ‘flight training’ is specifically called out as part of our critical infrastructure.

Why is Flight Training Critical?

  • Without flight training there are no new pilots. Without pilots, there is no air transportation, no airfreight, no next day delivery, no medical evacuation, no crop spraying, no air force, no aviation law enforcement and no organ delivery.
  • Without flight training existing pilots lose their pilot privileges. All pilots have certain recurrent training requirements. Without this their pilot privileges lapse. So, without flight training, there are no new pilots and existing pilots eventually lose their privileges.

Flight Instructors are Essential Workers

Because flight training is a part of our Critical Infrastructure, and although it is not obvious at first, flight instructors are essential workers. The State of California designates a list of Essential Workers (https://covid19.ca.gov/essential-workforce/) that shows under Transportation and Logistics at Point 18 that flight instructors are essential workers:

 

Why are Flight Instructors Essential Workers?

  • Because flight instructors deliver an important part of our Critical Infrastructure, they are essential workers. Flight schools remained open and operational during the COVID-19 lock-downs because of our essential worker status.

Pilot Shortage – the Reason Behind the Increase in Flight Training Operations

According to Boeing, the Pilot (Airline Pilot Career) Outlook for 2023-2042 is:

Pilot World Demand – 649,000
(32,450 per year or 89 per day)

So, industry has to produce 89 new Commercial Pilots every day to keep up with worldwide demand. What this has resulted in is a steep increase in pay for airline pilots, multiple federal grants to try to help with the creation of pilots (and mechanics), and various other efforts to meet this critical demand.

As a Result of the Pilot Shortage…

  • Starting first-year salary at the regional airlines and others is now around $100,000 per year.
  • Airline Pilots earn over $200,000 per year within about 3 years & $450,000 per year within about 10 years.
  • Senior Captain pay at several major airlines is now $590,000 a year (reference)

So, what all of this has done is create an uptick in flight training activity across the United States.

Airport operations at airports like Torrance are nowhere near the (much higher) levels they were at in the 1980’s, but operations are definitely up compared to 5 years ago.

 

Our Solutions to the Increase in Flight Training and its Effects

Sling Pilot Academy cares deeply about the effect we have on the neighborhoods we operate in. The increase in flight training activity nationwide as a result of the severe pilot shortage has created an increase in airplane noise around certain airports.

Our 5-point plan:

  1. Continue to enforce a strict adherence to our Voluntary Noise Abatement Agreement and the Letter of Agreement signed with the City of Torrance.
  2. Continue to educate our pilots on noise-sensitive areas at all airports we operate from.
  3. Through the Fly Friendly Los Angeles program, educate pilots across the Los Angeles basin about noise-sensitive areas to avoid when operating out of Torrance and all LA Basin airports. It is not about each airport sending their airplanes to ‘other’ airports – it is about ‘flying friendly’ everywhere pilots go.
  4. Help educate airport neighborhood residents about the value of airports and aviation, provide value to communities via special free family events and uplift lives via employment and career pathways.
  5. Look at ways to decrease our flight operation at Torrance Airport and distribute growth via other locations in the region.