Client Case Study – Echelon Air Flight Training

Dive into our first recruitment campaign!

Our client, Echelon Air Flight Training, approached us in late 2020 with a requirement to source a Head of Training for their Designated Training Organisation. Echelon was in a fortunate niche of aviation businesses largely unaffected by COVID, with a solid student base working towards their PPLs on the company’s SR22 fleet. Echelon’s owner and founder, Philippe Polman, had been doing the bulk of the instructing up until this point, with some part-time instructors assisting, depending on the workload. To keep growing the business, Philippe needed someone to slot into the Head of Training role that could tackle the regulatory side, but who also had the right growth-mindset to take the business forwards.  

Getting to Know Echelon Air 

We took our time with Philippe to get to know his business during our planning phase and something that really struck us was Philippe’s comparison between GA flying in the United States and the UK. Philippe had instructed in the US before and loves how Americans approach flying; he believes that they have a real spirit of adventure and they appreciate the boundless freedoms that flying affords. Conversely, for many flying students in the UK, their training syllabus is so compressed that they never get a chance to do anything adventurous, such as a navex to the south of France with a stop for lunch. Echelon has taken the American GA philosophy to the UK with great success and their students regularly go on multi-day trips through western Europe as part of their training. It was crucial that the future HoT really understood that philosophy and was prepared to deliver a syllabus that capitalised on the adventurous spirit of the business. 

Advertising and Outreach 

We built our advertising strategy on the premise that we would need to attract the right talent from a large pool of unemployed pilots. Thus, we took the somewhat unique approach of filming a promotional video with Echelon explaining the business and the new role in detail. This meant that the candidates who did decide to apply had a comprehensive understanding of the role. It also meant people could make an informed decision about whether the role was really right for them, rather than applying for a well-paid job that was advertised with minimal details and then hoping for the best. The advertising strategy really paid off and combined with fairly strict job specifications, we had a number of quality applicants from the outset.  

Imagery from the Echelon Air marketing campaign

Application and Assessment 

The application process we devised for Echelon required candidates to go through a pre-screen questionnaire and telephone interview before being selected for a Skype interview. The Skype interview was carefully designed to address as many of the job requirements as possible and give candidates the opportunity to evidence competencies against those requirements. With each candidate’s permission we were able record these interviews and pass them onto Philippe, along with our feedback on each candidate’s performance. Before he had even interviewed the candidates himself, Philippe already had a quantifiable assessment of each candidate’s performance against the requirements of the role. We were also readily available for Philippe to bounce off theories about the various merits of each candidate and we certainly weren’t afraid to challenge his methodologies based on our own experience.  

Successful Placement 

Philippe was able ultimately able to offer the role to a highly suitable candidate, following a final interview and flight assessment. In their first few weeks, Echelon’s new Head of Training has already devised a 6-month strategy to develop and enhance the training program. We’re confident they will continue to add value to the business and become intrinsic to Echelon’s future success.  

“I had been trying to source a suitable candidate for the role of Chief Pilot/Head of Training for some months. After a meeting with Andrew of SkyChaser, I recognised that reliance upon existing networks was not likely to provide a candidate with the required skill set. Andrew, who already had industry recognition for his business Flight Deck Wingman, explained the merits of utilising SkyChaser’s specialist approach to recruiting pilots for my operation. It became abundantly clear from the outset that I was in very capable hands with Andrew and Patrick’s expertise. 

SkyChaser took great care in getting to know my business, were unafraid to challenge me appropriately and consistently went above and beyond to ensure that I was kept in the loop. The selection process was very comprehensive, and the addition of video-based interviews was also a great touch. Crucially, I felt in control at every stage of the process.

I would wholeheartedly recommend SkyChaser to the aviation training and business aviation community, where the team’s experience, diligence and proactive approach will be an undoubted asset.”

Philippe Polman – Director

“I was introduced to the opportunity with Echelon Air Flight Training through SkyChaser’s Linkedin page. A comprehensive description of the role was provided along with a video interview between Andrew of SkyChaser and Philippe of Echelon Air. It was beneficial to be introduced to the role in this way and made the difference in me deciding to apply for the role. 

Registration and application for the role with SkyChaser was straightforward. They provided a video with the welcome email explaining use of the candidate portal and the next steps to expect. The recruitment and assessment journey was certainly comprehensive, and I felt safe in the knowledge that my competence and suitability for the role was being appropriately assessed...

In what can often be a recruitment minefield, the consistent and informative approach from SkyChaser was a real breath of fresh air. Andrew even went out of his way in offering to personally assist me with my relocation to the UK from the UAE. Thank you, Andrew and Patrick for genuinely caring about my recruitment journey at such a challenging time.”

Martin Coode – Head of Training

To speak to us about your unique requirements, then please get in touch today – we’d be delighted to speak with you and let you know more about how SkyChaser Aviation Recruitment can support your business!

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