Estimated reading time 9 minutes, 35 seconds.
The story of Jesse Sharpe, a current first officer with Porter Airlines and the CEO/founder of SharpeAero, demonstrates a unique perspective on flight instruction and the power of challenging traditional methods and practices in the aviation industry.
Sharpe is the type of problem solver who circles back to the obstacle and picks at the surface until he finds the source of the issue — exploring both internal and external resources for a solution. If the solution does not currently exist, he will create one himself.
SharpeAero was born out of a desire to challenge the current practicum associated with pilot training in Canada. His experience as a commercial pilot and his background in design strategy and flight instruction empowered Sharpe to create flight training materials focused on the needs of both the student pilot and the instructor.
During an interview conducted from his home, in front of a backdrop of instruments he plays with a band aptly named “In the Vicinity,” the musically-inclined aviation entrepreneur told Skies he finds himself fascinated by the process of turning “something as abstract as an idea into something as tangible as reality.”
He added: “It’s amazing that we can simply have a thought, then do some work, and then hold the manifestation of that idea in our hands.”
Sharpe’s approach simplifies complex training content and is hyper-focused on the practical side of flight instruction, rather than overwhelming learners with unnecessary details. He focuses on the type of content you need to know to actually get into an airplane and fly it because “that’s where the biggest gap is in terms of Canadian flight training resources.”
Law of attraction
Sharpe admits he is living his dream.
It’s his ability to focus on what brings him joy that has helped the young prodigy attract acknowledgement for his work, including earning Aviation Solutions’ Chief Flight Instructor’s Award. Sharpe also proudly earned the highest written score for the flight instructor rating at Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre.
While speaking with Skies, he pointed out that industries can often become trapped in a particular way of thinking, relying on the same old methods to solve problems. Aviation, in particular, is typically rooted in a technical and engineering-like mindset, which can lead to overly complex materials with lengthy content and convoluted diagrams.
“During my flight training, I got frustrated with the complicated and dense training content,” he recalled. “It felt like the people creating the materials forgot who they were making them for. We should start with simple concepts and gradually introduce complexity when teaching something. This approach should apply to flight training resources as well.”
So, when he wasn’t flying, he got to work on the text, layout, graphics, and design of a training manual that “fully embraced this principle of simplicity, and injected it throughout the entirety of its content,” he said. Sharpe opted to use bullet points as a main component of the books “to ensure content is quickly and easily digestible.”
SharpeAero’s training manuals and accessories have been tested within Canadian flight schools, receiving high praise. Several training facilities have implemented the company’s resources, described as “game-changers” and a “valuable addition to any aviator’s library.”
Mike Schuster, director of operations and chief instructor with Aviation Solutions — which provides aviation training programs and consultative services in Canada — said he currently recommends SharpeAero’s flight training guides to all of his students.
“[The books] check all the boxes,” he said. “The author’s experience as a flight instructor comes through with real-world application and simple, to-the-point, summarized information. This is the most up-to-date and complete flight training material available for the teaching of Air Exercises 1 through 24.”
Daniel Gustin, an Air Transat pilot and chief executive officer of Canadian Flight Trainers Ltd., said SharpeAero’s flight training manuals “seamlessly integrate into any student’s flight training, providing thoroughness and efficiency. It strikes the perfect balance, ensuring pilots complete their lessons effectively.”
Although the pandemic slowed the launch of SharpeAero’s products, it provided an opportunity for reflection and improvement. The second edition of the training materials was released with enhancements based on user feedback, aiming to strike the right balance between brevity and detail to benefit students and instructors alike.
“In November 2019, we launched the first edition of our content (just months before the pandemic brought the world to a standstill),” said Sharpe. “Focused on spreading brand awareness and building trust in flight training, we faced challenges as Covid-19 closed doors and limited budgets.”
In hindsight, he admits the curse became a blessing — as lockdowns bought time to produce “significantly enhanced second-edition content.”
Today, SharpeAero offers a comprehensive platform for flight training needs, including training handbooks for private and commercial pilot licenses and night ratings, as well as kneeboard templates, flight logs, and training posters.
The company’s flight training materials build upon Transport Canada’s existing flight instructor and flight test guides, while integrating simple diagrams and expanded knowledge within each exercise.
“We have found the perfect balance between brevity and detail to provide students with a valuable resource to learn and prepare for flights, while also serving as a reference guide for flight instructors to teach their lesson plans,” shared Sharpe. “This can also reassure flight school management that their instructors are delivering consistent, high-quality training.”
Learn more about SharpeAero’s flight training resources at www.sharpeaero.com.