Fort Smith’s flying school says it’s now certified

Fort Smith’s new flight school says it has received official certification from Transport Canada.

On Facebook, Northwestern Air Lease said its subsidiary, the Terry Harrold School of Aviation, had received approval as a flying school “after over one year of work.”

Calling the approval “amazing news,” the company said: “We can now begin flight and ground school training.”


The school will help students acquire private and commercial pilot licences, or a two-year aviation management diploma, according to its website.

Plans for the flight school were first announced last May. Northwestern is partnering with Norman Wells-based North-Wright Airways to run it.

At the time, the company’s chief operating officer and flight school administrator, Jim Heidema, told Cabin Radio a northern aviation school would help keep talent in the North.

Airlines worldwide are facing pilot shortages as baby boomers retire, and smaller airlines like Northwestern are losing pilots to larger airlines as fast as they can hire them.

The NWT’s new flight school is named after the 54-year-old company’s president and pilot Terry Harrold.


In February, 84-year-old Harrold deadpanned, “I wish they’d waited until I was dead, that would have been better.”