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Our History

JA Flight Services was started in 2006 in preparation for JA Air Center’s move to Aurora Airport. 35-year aviation veteran and current Vice President of JA Air Center, Scott Fank, teamed with enthusiastic JA customer and long-time banking executive, Bruce Jacobs, to launch the flight training and charter operation at JA Air Center.

Originally started as a part 61 flight school and part 135 charter company with five employees, JA Flight Services has grown into an FAA-approved part 141 flight school, aircraft leasing business, and partner in one of the largest commuter airlines in the country.   Now, with more than 25 employees and seven late-model aircraft in the fleet, JA Flight Training is one of the fastest-growing flight schools in the Chicago area offering pilot training up to ATP rating (Airline Transport Pilot).  JA flight’s unique affiliation with Southern Airways Express offers a flow-through to the airlines quicker than any flight program in the country.

JA Flight Services (JAFS) ownership of FAA part 135 business, Executive Express Aviation originally started as an on-demand charter business serving the Chicago area with turbo-prop and jet aircraft.  During the downturn in 2009 – 2011 JAFS purchased 7 Cessna Caravan aircraft from FedEx and with the help of JA Air Center converted five of them from freighters to passenger-carrying aircraft.  With the initial intent to sell the aircraft, JAFS found Caravan lease customers within the commuter airline community.  Shortly thereafter Executive Express Aviation teamed up with executives from the Memphis area and Southern Airways Express was born.  Through a number of acquisitions and the placement of JAFS’s leased Caravans into the operation, Southern began its expansion into the commuter airline world gobbling up Sun Air Express, Mokulele Airlines, and Makani Kai.  Today, Southern Airways Express operates 30+ Cessna Caravan aircraft, employing more than 300 people and flying over 170 passenger-carrying flights per day throughout the continental United States and Hawaii.  Additionally, Southern Private Jets operates an on-demand charter business in the Chicago area as well as a number of its bases in the mid-Atlantic and Southern states.

Both Scott and Bruce are active in the day-to-day operation of both businesses and state, “The most rewarding part of JA Flight Services is taking enthusiastic young adults, making them into pilots, employing them, and helping them become airline pilots.”

Partnerships

Flight Simulator

Redbird Flight Simulator (AATD)

AATD stands for “Approved Advanced Training Device”.  This means that our full-motion simulator meets all of the requirements of the FAA to provide valuable training hours towards your Private, Instrument, and Commercial ratings at a fraction of the cost of using an aircraft.  With over 100 functions in the G1000 system, the Redbird simulator is a great place to learn how to use all of the functions of the Garmin G1000 system.

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