Professional Airplane Training

Being a professional pilot is one of the most rewarding jobs in the world. Imagine incredible office views with a new city or country to regularly discover. Not to mention the amazing retirement benefits and simple thrill of being a professional pilot and flying for a living.

When students ask us what sets our airplane training program apart from others, we say:

Experience & Location

We’ve been launching professional pilot careers for over 15 years in Bend, Oregon. Bend is an outdoor paradise for the powder thirsty, trail hungry, adventure enthusiast. It also has the ideal flight training environment. Our airport is situated at 3,460 MSL and is surrounded by mountains on one side and high desert on the other. With over 300 days of sunshine—and a legitimate four seasons of weather—our pilots learn how to make informed go/no-go decisions.

Time, Quality & Value

Our busy school environment provides our instructors with the hours they need to secure their next aviation job in an industry that reveres LEFA as a leader in training. On average, our students complete their initial training in 12 to 18 months. When training is complete, most instructors gain the required hours for airline qualifications within 18 months. In as little as two to two and half years you can be flying professionally, and by utilizing our advanced flight simulator you’ll be saving money while you’re at it.

Consider This Scenario…

Flight training under a non-professional pilot program at a Part 61 flight school requires 250 hours to reach commercial pilot minimums versus 200 hours with LEFA under our Part 141 program. Those additional 50 hours add time and expense to your training.

Equally important is how many flight hours per month you will average as a flight instructor. The more hours you fly per month as an instructor, the more quickly you achieve the hours needed to move on to your next aviation job. At LEFA, our instructors fly an average of 70 hours per month compared to 30 hours per month at small schools with fewer students and lower flight volume.

In sum total, it will take you 2.5 to 3 years to get to the airlines with us versus closer to five years at a non-professional flight training program. With LEFA, we cut the time from your first training to your next aviation job in half.

What to Expect From Our Airplane Training Program


  • Students need to be available at least five days per week and complete at least three training events per week. 
  • You’re expected to undertake copious amounts of ground study on your own time and as directed by your instructor so you’re prepared for all flight, ground, and simulator training events. 
  • Time and cost vary depending on the individual, and the average hours and prices for our Professional Pilot Program is here.
  • The airplane training program includes private pilot certificate, instrument rating, commercial single-engine land certificate, and certified flight instructor instrument rating.
  • Program completion takes between 12 and 18 months, depending on schedule availability and rate of training progression. 

Employment at Leading Edge

Students completing 100% of their training at LEFA are given the first opportunity to interview for flight instructor positions. Due to airplane training demand, our flight instructors fly an average of 70 hours per month and can therefore progress quickly to the hour requirement for their next aviation job.

We’re committed to efficiently building the highest skill level in the shortest amount of time at the lowest cost. Graduates here can continue to build experiences as instructors and, ultimately, meet their personal goals to become professional aviators in record time.

Career Paths After Airplane Training

Industry demand for new pilots is very strong right now, with employment expected to grow 13 percent from 2020 to 2030 and about 14,500 openings projected per year for airline and commercial pilots. What does that mean for you? Incredible career opportunities. 

By attending a Part 141 flight school like LEFA, you’re receiving higher quality training with lower hour requirements. Plus, with our commitment to hiring LEFA students as flight instructors, you will more quickly bridge the gap between your 200 and 1,500 flight hours by training with and then instructing for us. 

After you’ve completed your initial airplane training and finished your hours as a LEFA instructor, our Leadership Team provides mentorship, resume help, industry contacts, and recommendations. So when you leave Leading Edge, you’re not only prepared as a high-quality pilot but as a high-quality employee. Plus, our program is part of the Skywest Pathway Program, Alaska Seaplanes, and, if attending the COCC degree program, they are also partnered with Horizon Air Pilot Development Program.

From there, the possibilities are limitless. 

Why Choose Leading Edge Flight Academy

One of the things we’re most proud of about our program is taking people from zero experience to professional pilot—in less time with higher quality and better overall value.

The global pilot shortage has made this career more necessary than ever.

Take your career to new heights with professional airplane training at Leading Edge Flight Academy (LEFA).