North American Institute of Aviation

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North American Institute of Aviation
North American Institute of Aviation logo.jpg
Established 1972
Type Private
President Benjamin J. Creel
Administrative staff
Approx. 30 before training activities were suspended.
Location Conway, South Carolina, USA
33°49′41″N 79°07′26″W / 33.828°N 79.124°W / 33.828; -79.124Coordinates: 33°49′41″N 79°07′26″W / 33.828°N 79.124°W / 33.828; -79.124
Campus County airport, 9,000 square feet (840 m2)
Nickname The Conway Bombers

The North American Institute of Aviation (NAIA) was a private, FAA Part-141 flight school located in Conway, South Carolina, in the United States. Founded on July 7, 1972 in Hammonton, New Jersey, then later moved to South Carolina in 1978, NAIA specialized in flight and aircraft maintenance training. It has also had a campus in Las Cruces, New Mexico.[1] The school had close connections to North European Aviation Resources (NEAR) of Vigra, Norway, and was for a period of time the ab-initio school of Scandinavian Airlines. The school subsequently commanded an excellent reputation in Northern Europe. NAIA boasted an international student population and graduates work for airlines world wide. The school concentrated its efforts on FAA Part-141 operations and their European JAR-FCL approved program in cooperation with NEAR, which maintained a representative at the school. NAIA operated out of the Conway-Horry County Airport where it was also the Fixed Base Operator (FBO).

NAIA ceased training operations September 5, 2008. The school was up for sale, and had been approached by potential buyers. Most staff members had their employment terminated in order to revert the operations into a pure FBO service. European program students have not yet been refunded for their training tuition, although some of the American students have been refunded due to an insurance policy maintained by the school. European program students were transferred to Pelican Flight Training Center and Hillsboro Aviation.

North American Institute of Aviation filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy at a federal court in Columbia on February 16, 2009.[2]

Training programs offered[edit]

North American's Professional Pilot Program included the FAA Private Pilot License (PPL), Instrument Rating (IRA), Commercial Pilot License (CPL), Flight Instructor Certificate (CFI), Instrument Flight Instructor Certificate (CFII) and the Multi-Engine Rating courses.[3] The JAR-FCL approved training syllabus used by the school in cooperation with NEAR was a derivative of the original SAS ab-initio program.

The school's Aviation Maintenance Technology Program included the training courses Airframe Systems and Components, Aircraft Structures, Reciprocating Powerplant Systems and Components and the Turbine Powerplant Systems and Components course.[4] NAIA's School of Aviation Maintenance Technology also had an operational technical maintenance service which provided aircraft maintenance to the flight school's fleet as well as to the local aviation community.

The fleet[edit]

North American operated until September 5, 2008, a fleet of 6 Cessna 152, 11 Cessna 172, 3 Cessna 172RG, 2 Piper Seminoles and one DA-40 Diamond Star. In early 2008 the school underwent operational tests of the Liberty XL2 as a replacement aircraft for the aging fleet. No purchase or lease of the Liberty was made. The average age of the fleet was 21.6 years per 2008.[5] Upon closure of the school, the majority of the fleet was transferred to Pelican Flight Training Center where it continued to operate on lease from Christiansen Aviation.


Students and alumni of North American are colloquially nicknamed "The Conway Bombers", pertaining to their historically often high activity level with aircraft departing from the home base with, what might appear as, similar time-spacing between each flight as that used by aircraft of World War II bomber squadrons. Several flights often went to similar destinations at the same time, normally due to a class being in the process of accomplishing the required 37 hours of solo cross-country flights.

A popular dining option for students and instructors alike was Kyoto Fantasy Express (Mon Cafe Japanese, as of late 2008). It was situated next to the Conway Walmart, which was on the extended centerline of the Conway-Horry County Airport's runway 22. This led to the coining of the term "Kyoto Arrival" for the visual approach to that runway, mimicking the often creative names of STARs at major airports.

External links[edit]


Not related to: North American Institute of Aviation Archaeology (home page)


  1. ^ "North American Institute of Aviation". February 17, 2009. Retrieved 2011-06-09. 
  2. ^ "Horry County takes over Conway airport". The Sun News. February 17, 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-26. [dead link]
  3. ^ NAIA Catalog of General Information and Programs, 23rd Edition, p. 7-8
  4. ^ NAIA Catalog of General Information and Programs, 23rd Edition, p. 10-11
  5. ^ NAIA Training Aircraft Weight Balance Data sheet, specified aircraft production years.