Helicopter school coming to Schaumburg Regional Airport
Schaumburg Regional Airport -- already a home base for many of the Chicago area's news helicopters -- will soon be a place where students can learn to fly such hovering aircraft.
Village trustees this week approved Midwest Helicopter Academy's proposal to rent an office and hangar space there.
The academy operates in Sauget, Illinois, near St. Louis, and is affiliated with St. Louis University.
CEO Chris Bailey intends to create a new branch of the academy in Schaumburg to train qualified pilots for the Chicago area's growing aviation industry, according to village officials.
Schaumburg Transportation Manager Richard Bascomb said the village-owned airport has provided space for flight schools before.
While businesses of different types have leased space at the airport, maintaining a focus on aviation-related uses helps the facility achieve its potential, he added.
Schaumburg Mayor Al Larson agreed.
"I think it's important to have the airport develop along those lines," he said. "Certainly all the news helicopters are based at Schaumburg."
Airport Manager Erik Trydal said he's still working with Midwest Helicopter Academy on establishing a start date for its operations in Schaumburg.
The plan is for the academy to start with just one certified flight and ground school instructor and one helicopter. A second helicopter is expected to be added within three months.
To be eligible to lease the office and hangar spaces, Midwest Helicopter Academy had to provide a letter of verification that it has working capital of at least $25,000 not including the value of its equipment and facilities.
The academy belongs to a category of flight schools that must be periodically audited by the Federal Aviation Administration through no-notice inspections, use an FAA-approved training course and maintain a minimum student performance rate of 80 percent or above to pass its students.