Trident Aircraft is a flight school, management, and charter company with additional locations throughout the East Coast. They are headquartered in Easton, MD. EEDC spoke to Tad Woodward, Trident’s CFO.
EEDC: Tell us about Trident?
Tad Woodward (TW): Trident was started by John Galdieri in 2006 at the Bay Bridge Airport (Stevensville). We’ve been very successful as a flight school. Now we are up to 72 employees in five different states–Maryland, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Kentucky. We do flight schools out of all of them, but Easton is the hub of everything and it is where we hold the powered flight program or PFP for the Naval Academy.
EEDC: How did PFP come about?
TW: John Galdieri, who is a Navy Veteran, started working with the U.S. Naval Academy in 2014 because he understood the need for immersive flight training for midshipmen at the early stages of their military career.
EEDC: Does the Navy provide the instructors?
TW: We provide certified flight instructors to help run the program, but they also bring instructors who will teach the midshipmen about the Navy way.
EEDC: What’s their ‘training ground,’ so to speak?
TW: There are four or five different courses set up, so they overlap each other. We fly the Bay Bridge as far south as Cambridge and out towards Ridgley to the east.
EEDC: So, what is the result of this intense training?
TW: Students who take the intense PFP program will be able to conduct a solo flight after one week of ground training and two weeks of in-air training. Again, this program is for midshipmen and not typical for regular students.
EEDC: How long is the PFP program?
TW: Usually, it’s run in three blocks from Memorial Day through mid-August. Each one of those blocks can be anywhere from 35 -45 to students. Currently, we have approximately 105 students taking the course. Last year we taught about 160 students.
EEDC: Where do the midshipmen stay during the program?
TW: They stay on base and are brought here daily for instruction and flight.
EEDC: So that’s one aspect of your business; what else does Trident do?
TW: We have three major components: flight school is one. Then we have aircraft management. What that means is that for an owner of an aircraft, we would manage it by providing crew, insurance, fueling, and maintenance. The owner would just have to call us and say that they want to go from place A to place B on such a day, and we would make it happen.
EEDC: What’s the third component?
TW: The other silo of this business is called charter. Charter is very similar to renting a car. We would provide the crew and the services needed to take you where you want to go. For that, we have our own aircraft, a Gulfstream 150, and we also have the use of other planes.
EEDC: Do you fly internationally as well?
TW: We have done International. However, the rules during COVID have changed a lot. So the vast majority of our flights are within the continental US.
EEDC: What’s next for Trident?
TW: I think we will continue to expand on the charter and the managed aircraft stock. That seems to have done very well for us as a business.
EEDC: What else do you want people to know about Trident?
TW: I would love to reach out to some high school students who may want an avenue where they could have an excellent career in aviation or become a pilot. There has been a lot in the news about a pilot shortage, right? Well, some students may not want to go to college, so why not learn how to fly at a great flight school in the area!
EEDC: So you would like to have the students start learning the ropes or start thinking about aviation as a possible career, and they don’t have to go to college?
TW: Correct. I’m not saying not to go to college. But if they don’t, a career in aviation is certainly an option.
EEDC: And they should just contact Trident.
TW: Right, we map out a plan for them to get all the licenses. We have several pilots now that have grown through the program. It’s a very rewarding career, and it pays well.
EEDC: And there are the college graduates who probably consider this as an option too.
TW: That’s certainly a possibility as well.
Flight school: https://tridentflighttraining.com
Management and Charter: https://tridentaircraft.com