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One to 120: Investment Equals Expansion at Flight School

It started in 1999 with one man and one used aircraft. Danny Perna had a pre-owned CESSNA 152 piston, an Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) license and a flight instructor rating. That was all it took.


Danny’s father, Tony, had a professional relationship with Cessna years prior to Danny Perna’s endeavor. So, when Danny decided to launch Epic Flight Academy, working with the renowned aviation manufacturer and brand of aircraft seemed like the perfect fit.


It was “like working with family,” Danny said.


That family quickly grew. Epic launched its Part 147 Aircraft Mechanic School as well, employing 120 people and occupying 44,300 square feet at the New Smyrna Beach Airport in Florida. The company holds five flight simulators, 21 aircraft with 18 of them being Textron Aviation products, and three factory new Cessna SKYHAWK pistons set to deliver in 2021. It’s a bit different than Danny and his pre-owned Cessna plane in the late 90’s.


1999:                                                                                        2021:

1 AIRCRAFT                                                                             21 AIRCRAFT

1 EMPLOYEE                                                                            120 EMPLOYEES

0 FLIGHT SIMULATORS                                                         5 FLIGHT SIMULATORS


The company says the investment into new aircraft pays dividends.


“Of course, our students get to train using the most current technology. Training in the Skyhawk’s glass cockpits prepares them for their careers as airline pilots. Students love these advantages, and Epic Flight Academy appreciates the reduced maintenance costs associated with purchasing brand new state-of-the-art aircraft,” an academy representative said.


For Epic, more of these new aircraft means one thing – expansion.


“Every time we purchase new aircraft, we expand our flight training capacity. Students have ample access to flight training because aircraft are readily available. Furthermore, relying on new aircraft ensures fewer repairs, which means more available flight time for students. We service more students … by using new Skyhawks, the #1 flight training aircraft,” the representative continued.


Plus, Epic Flight Academy says each new aircraft comes with a celebration that students and staff all enjoy being a part of. The academy is known for its distinctive red tail paint scheme and after delivery, that’s the first thing everyone waits for. The academy said it hears only positive comments about the controls, comfort and avionics in the Skyhawk pistons.


“As he was taking off, one student exclaimed, “She wants to fly!” The enthusiasm is always high when we take delivery of new Skyhawks,” the academy said. 


“ These planes are extremely well-built and will always be our first choice for flight training.” – Epic Flight Academy


Epic Flight Academy says it is one of the fastest growing flight schools in the world and making an investment into a new aircraft doesn’t come without strategy. Fortunately, the company has found the investment garners great return, continued momentum and cost savings over time.

“Purchasing pre-owned aircraft comes with the additional costs of maintenance and repairs, along with higher depreciation costs. There can also be unknown challenges when purchasing used equipment. A fleet with new Skyhawks ensures lower repairs, more billable airtime for the flight school, and above all, a reliable aircraft,” Epic said.