Centennial Helicopters: Enhancing Student Training & Safety

March 9, 2020

Centennial Helicopters have achieved a lot since their inception in 1992; they started with a Schweizer 300 for flight instruction, and in 2000, they obtained Robinsons for pilots in training and for those looking to advance their careers. Fast forward to today, they also offer charter flights, surveying services and more, so have added a Bell 206B and Bell 206L to their fleet, to help meet the demand of customers as the business has continued to grow.

All certifications require hours of flight time, with the initial private pilot certification program requiring 40 hours alone. Students can get their instrument pilot license with Centennial, allowing them to fly without external visibility, or work towards their commercial license. Centennial also offers a program for those wanting to become certified flight instructors themselves.

Located at Danbury Municipal Airport in Danbury, Connecticut, Centennial is about 70mi (112km) from New York City. It’s a convenient location for a charter business, as the company can carry passengers in and around the New York Metropolitan area.

Their location is also ideal for aerial photography and sightseeing tours. Passengers get a birds-eye view of the picturesque Candlewood Lake, the great Hudson River, the beautiful coastal towns along the Connecticut shore, and of course, Manhattan.


Although the region makes for excellent sightseeing, especially when cruising in Centennial’s Classic Stearman biplane, there’s more to the area than the city skylines. The region is split up by major rivers, including the Hudson, Connecticut, and Delaware rivers. The Appalachian Mountains run through as well, spilling the rivers out into either the Atlantic Ocean to the East or the Great Lakes to the West. Although people often know its major cities, The New England and Mid-Atlantic states have a combination of rugged interiors, rolling farmlands, and the Atlantic seaboard. The area is vast, and at times emptier than one would expect. As a gateway to the rest of the United States, there’s much ground to cover in cross-country flights.

But tourists and pilots-in-training aren’t the only people in Centennial’s helicopters. The company also offers a rental program, where pilots can rent out their Robinson R44 after receiving a company-specific qualification. It was the mix of both students flying their aircraft and pilots renting them that lead to Chief Pilot, Michael DeMarchi, to require a reliable means of tracking aircraft. Spidertracks has been on board with Centennial since 2015 as a way to keep both pilots and customers safe, without an exorbitant price tag.

Pilot licenses require students to complete a mix of dual and solo flight hours. With Spidertracks, Centennial and its staff can ensure that students are flying within company policy and regulations, by knowing exactly where an aircraft is and at what altitude. Students and rental pilots often fly cross-country trips, which require real-time tracking and communication capability.

The pilots, and soon-to-be-pilots, who fly Centennial’s helicopters might not be operating in the world’s most remote areas. However, there is an added risk that is unique to flight schools. When it comes to training pilots and renting out helicopters, Centennial has an even larger pool of people to keep safe. With Spidertracks, keeping tabs on pilots and their passengers is easier than ever.

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