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‘It’s awesome’: Leading Edge Flight Academy completes helicopter operations hangar

Leading Edge helicopter facility bend Airport
Leading Edge Flight Academy
Aerial view of Leading Edge Flight Academy helicopter operations hangar, Bend Airport's new heliport
Leading Edge helicopter hangar Bend Airport
Leading Edge Flight Academy
New Leading Edge helicopter operations hangar

(Update: Adding video, comments from airport manager, certified flight instructor)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Leading Edge Flight Academy has completed a new helicopter hangar facility at the Bend Municipal Airport, making use of a new heliport with more than 20 spots.

"It's all shiny and new," certified flight instructor Jack Carney said. Friday. "It's awesome."

Leading Edge Flight Academy recently unveiled  its new facility at the Bend Municipal Airport, including a heliport landing pad with a capacity of 21 helicopters.  The hangar houses what's known commonly as a flight simulator for training, along with three offices, a conference room and and seven ground training spaces.  

"I don't think there's many other flight schools that have their own heliport," Carney said, "So that allows us to focus specifically on helicopters and just take advantage of the heliport that was up here."

The facility was added to the airport with safety in mind, since airplanes are maneuvered differently than helicopters and operate at different speeds and weights.

Bend Municipal Airport Manager Tracy Williams said, "The sole purpose of creating the helicopter operating area was to separate fixed-wing aircraft from rotary-wing aircraft, to de-conflict their different airport aircraft operating characteristics."

Leading Edge Flight Academy is an FAA-approved flight school associated with Central Oregon Community College, training more than 100 students to be skilled pilots.

And students won't be the only ones to benefit from the new hangar.

Williams said, "There is a major demand for aircraft storage hangars, and this is one that houses a great number of those. So that provides for more opportunity to others that would like to base out of the Bend Municipal Airport." 

Bend Municipal Airport is the state's third busiest airport, in terms of takeoffs and landings. 

Here is the Leading Edge news release:

It is no secret that on any given day, the airspace in Bend is buzzing with activity. Training Flights, aircraft testing, medical operations, corporate commuting and more bring the Bend Municipal Airport to be the third-busiest airport in Oregon.

With so much action, it may not be surprising to hear about brand-new construction taking place; however, for local pilot training school Leading Edge Flight Academy, "this construction marks years of hard work, dedication and commitment to excellence in the flight training world," according to a news release from the business, which continues in full below.

“With the rapid growth of fixed wing and helicopter schools throughout the nation, we foresaw the need for the expansion of our school. With the support of the FAA, City of Bend, and the State of Oregon, we have been able to attain our goal, and build a dedicated helicopter operations facility. Our new facility will ensure a safe training environment for our pilots, students and commercial operations. We are truly excited for our future,” said Brad Fraley, CEO of Leading Edge.

The interior of the building consists of three offices, a conference room, seven ground training spaces and a helicopter flight training device, known to the public as a flight simulator. The landing pad has a parking capacity for 21 helicopters.

One of the main highlights of the new facility is the separation of flight operations at the airport, leaving pilots feeling safer, with more room to complete their training.

"Operating out of the new heliport facility has been a huge upgrade to my training. Being surrounded by my peers in a helicopter specific environment that is filled with helpful material and teaching aids has made my training feel so much more specialized. I also feel like the heliport has provided a much safer separation between airplanes and helicopters at the airport" – Helicopter Student, Leading Edge Flight Academy

Flight instructors are also happy to gather additional industry-specific knowledge because of the new helicopter landing pad.

"Flying out of the heliport has provided our students and instructors, very early on in their career, the "real world" environment that they will be exposed to in the future. Since Leading Edge Aviation also runs its charter department out of the same facility, pilots have exposure to more advanced helicopters, as well as high-time pilots that are happy to share their experience and wisdom.” -Chris Jordan, Director of Operations

About Leading Edge Flight Academy:
Leading Edge’s start-to-finish support and above industry standard training prepares students to meet their aviation goals. With a management team of pilots having over 37,000 cumulative hours and 100+ years in the industry, Leading Edge knows what it takes to prepare students for a career in aviation. Their fully integrated operation is entirely focused on student success. Located in Bend, Oregon with 300+ days of annual sunshine yields a productive and simultaneously challenging training environment to fully prepare our students to achieve their aviation goals.

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