Kim Thakur lucked into the aviation industry almost a decade ago, when her friend’s flight school needed help. “Though it was a business I didn’t know anything about, I decided to take the plunge and I’ve loved it ever since,” she shares.
She left that company after a few years and she has been with Palm Beach Helicopters for the past nine, now serving as vice president and general manager, where she oversees the day-to-day operations for the helicopter training academy.
“I get to watch people go from having a dream to actually accomplishing it,” she says. “It’s incredibly satisfying helping people achieve their goals.”
Palm Beach Helicopters has been training helicopter pilots since 2001, with their programs falling into four categories:
- Instruments Only Program, which teaches instrument ratings and the Inadvertent IMC Survival for the VFR Pilot, along with instrument refresher courses.
- Train the Trainer Program, focused on the ratings of Certified Flight Instructor (CFI), Certified Flight Instructor Instrument (CFII) and the Flight Instructor Refresher Course.
- Pro Pilot Programs, focused on the ratings of Private Pilot, Commercial Pilot, Airline Transport Pilot, Turbine Helicopter Transitions and Recurrent courses.
- FAA Examining Authority: Palm Beach Helicopters is one of only three helicopter schools in the country that holds self-examining authority in their Private, Instrument, and Commercial 141 courses. Students in these courses are issued their pilot certificates after completing the final stage check and do not require a practical exam.
Kim says it’s a great time to consider an aviation career, as there’s a shortage of pilots at the same time that there is a huge demand for them. “There’s been a steady growth in the public service sector (EMS, law enforcement, fire-fighting) and we’re seeing growth in the corporate and oil exploration markets,” she says. “This supply and demand also means that salaries should continue to rise, as they have been for the past couple of years.”
While Kim is not a pilot herself, she does see the advantages for women in the industry. “There’s no Groundhog Day here, it’s a job that’s always different,” she says. “It can also be exhilarating and a little stressful, skills women tend to be good at managing.”
While the training and beginning of a career can be difficult to manage with a family, she says there can be balance once a pilot is more established. “It’s like working in healthcare – you might work two weeks on and two weeks off,” she says. “But you are home every day to be able to spend time with your family.”
“If you choose this career, you’re choosing to be flexible,” she says. “And the payoff is that you get to see the world.”
For more information on Palm Beach Helicopters, visit www.palmbeachhelicopters.com.
Details on Charter College’s aviation program are available at http://chartercollegeaviation.com/ or by calling 877-862-3484.