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Revv Aviation will expand to Eppley Airfield with flight school

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A Cessna 172 used by Revv Aviation at Council Bluffs Municipal Airport. Revv is expanding its flight school services to Eppley Airfield in Omaha.

Next year, the Omaha Airport Authority will launch a $600 million effort to modernize Eppley Airfield’s main terminal, which has not seen major changes to its configuration since it was built in the mid-1980s.

Starting Monday, a Midwest aviation services company will make its foray into Nebraska by expanding to Omaha’s Eppley Airfield.

The highlight of Revv Aviation’s expansion is a flight school that will be paired with Revv’s existing flight school at Council Bluffs Municipal Airport. The company is headquartered in Aurora, Illinois.

Revv’s Eppley flight school will be the second one at Nebraska’s largest airport, joining one operated by Nebraska Flight Center. Revv is leasing offices at the TAC Air fixed-base operator at Eppley.

Chief flight instructor Jerome Howard said Wednesday that pilots who are well into their training with Revv will be able to gain experience with Eppley’s professional structures including coordinating with air traffic controllers on flights.

“The majority of students who get into flight training want to go into professional aviation,” Howard said. “Operating at an airport such as Eppley will give them that experience.”

Revv’s expansion also deepens the company’s relationship to Omaha. The company, which recently rebranded to its current name, has partnered for a number of years with the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Aviation Institute to train students. Revv also trains pilots who aren’t going through a university program.

Pilots who train through a university and earn a degree must fly for at least 1,000 hours in order to become fully certified and thus eligible to fly for airlines.

Revv’s expansion into Eppley also means the shifting of instruction of multi-engine aircraft to Eppley. The majority of Revv’s instruction, including on single-engine aircraft, will stay at the Council Bluffs airport. Revv’s aircrafts that are used for training include the single-engine Cessna 172 and the twin-engine Piper Seminoles.

“It’s not like we’re moving the whole operation or anything,” Howard said. “The aircraft are still going to be based here at Council Bluffs.”

Howard acknowledged the new flight school should help slightly alleviate the pilot shortage. He said, however, that is only a secondary objective given that the shortage is “a continuous cycle” that sees major airlines pulling from regional airlines and regional airlines subsequently filling those gaps down the chain.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an average of 14,500 openings for airline and commercial pilots each year this decade mainly due to retirements and pilots who leave for other occupations.

Revv’s expansion to Eppley ties into the former’s desire to train students from diverse backgrounds. Revv offers internships and scholarships for students.

“We want to get as many people, especially young people, into aviation. We want diversity. We want more female pilots and more female mechanics,” marketing director Rod Kelly said, adding that Revv is also focusing on attracting people from underserved communities into the aviation industry.

Howard echoed that.

“If you want to come out and learn how to fly, no matter walk of life you come from and no matter where you come from, aviation is something for everybody,” Howard said.


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