Colin Rydon

Colin Rydon, Chief Executive Officer & Chief Operating Officer, Pilot Flight Academy AS

Colin Rydon is Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Pilot Flight Academy AS (PFA). PFA is headquartered in Norway and delivers commercial pilot training to students who wish to enter the world of commercial aviation as a pilot. PFA is regarded as one of the leading Pilot Academies in Europe with two bases in Norway and one base in Texas, USA. PFA currently has over 400 students.

Colin previously was employed at L3Harris (a large US conglomerate) where he was Vice President of Training. Colin was responsible for leading the training, standards and development for L3Harris across the global training organisation covering Academy and Airline training, whilst additionally managing the simulator training centre business with three global locations.

With an aviation career spanning 32 years, Colin has gained broad global experience in flight operations management, pilot training and regulation within all sectors of the aviation industry. Colin joined L3Harris from Flybe, once UK’s largest regional airline where he held the position of Director of Flight Operations. Previously he held senior management positions at Jetstar/Qantas, easyJet and British Airways. Colin’s management career was first built over 20 years at British Airways where he began as a cadet pilot and rose to Flight Training Manager on the largest global B747-400 fleet.

Colin has held UK/EASA, Singapore and Hong Kong Airline Transport Pilot Licences whilst being a qualified Instructor/Examiner and Senior Examiner on a broad range of aircraft for more than 25 years. He also holds an Executive Masters in Business Administration from Henley Business School. He has over 10,000 hours flying experience and has flown the Dash 8, A320, B737, B757, B767, B747-100/200 and B747-400 aircraft across the globe.

Colin is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and has a keen interest in the development of the next age of aviation platforms and the growth in equality and diversity amongst all pilots no matter what their backgrounds.

A New Model of Ab Initio Pilot Training

‘Why not be different?’ What does the future training model look like and what is stopping us today?

We believe that we do not need regulatory change to deliver a better course and experience for the student commercial pilot. We know what the key attributes are to train our pilots of tomorrow, so what is stopping us getting that right. The predominant answer is cost – ATOs are focused on making profits ahead of giving great student experience and delivering a pilot of the future. We need to get back to making flight training fun, whilst delivering a great educational experience along with introducing a broad professional experience. We, at Pilot Flight Academy, think we have the model that suits both the student and the client airline. We need to recognise that the next generation of pilots have different needs and we need to adapt to help them achieve their goals whilst delivering the ‘right stuff’ to the airlines. This presentation will show some of the approaches Pilot Flight Academy are taking now and in the near future.