Having flown an estimated 33 million miles since its launch in 1968, the equivalent of 70 trips to the moon and back. Tayside Aviation has trained over 5,000 commercial airline pilots since its inception, as well as 6,000 RAF cadets and flown 1,500 flying scholarships, including 300 from as far away as Hong Kong.
Significant milestones in Tayside’s 50 year history have included:
- 1975 Former Lightning and Red Arrows pilot Ted Girdler recruited as Operations Director and Chief Flying Instructor.
- 1977 Tayside granted a CAA Air Operators Certificate (AOC), providing an air taxi charter service using a six seat Piper Aztec.
- 1982 Aircraft maintenance engineering hangar built by the Scottish Development Agency.
- 1990 Tayside awarded a prestigious contract to provide flying training for cadets of the then Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force.
- 1994 Awarded contract to train up to 520 Air Training Corps cadets a year, using seven sub-contracted flying schools throughout the country to share the training.
- 1995 Fife (Glenrothes) Airport purchased.
- 1997 Tayside leases and operates Perth Airport, the company trains 250 of the 520 cadets each year ‘in house’ The cadets each receive 20 hours of flying training, so 10,400 flying hours in the contract.
Today the company, which employs 35 staff, operates a fleet of 20 single and twin engine aircraft between Dundee and Fife (Glenrothes) airports and trains commercial pilots for airlines across the world, particularly for Loganair, as well as FlyBe. At the heart of the company is the BSc (Hons) Professional Aviation Pilot Practice degree, the first of its kind available in Scotland, in conjunction with Middlesex University and Aviation Skills Partnership. Launched in 2015, the degree aims to enhance students’ career progression and hopefully attract more females into the career. Earlier this year, Tayside Aviation also launched an Initial Flight Training (IFT) course, which fast-tracks students onto the Honours pilot degree.
Maurice Boyle, Loganair’s Chief Operations Officer said: “Loganair is committed to employing high quality airline pilots and the innovative partnership with Tayside Aviation and Middlesex University will provide opportunities for a wider range of talented people to embark on an aviation career.”
Jim Watt, Tayside Aviation’s Managing Director added: “We are delighted to have reached our 50th year in business and with 50 students under training. Last year, we were awarded the RAF Central Flying School Trophy for delivering excellence in flight training which was a fantastic endorsement, also recognising 30 years of serving the RAF. We are also excited about the year ahead with plans to create a pilot training academy.
Tayside Aviation is delighted to be at the forefront as one of the UKs leading Flight Training Organisations and, in what is our 50th year, look forward to another exciting year of flight training.”
To celebrate their 50th birthday, Tayside flew 50 take-offs and landings before 1030, as well as 53 routine instruction sorties through the day.