Chad Farischon as Newly Elected NATA Board Member

Chad Farischon
Chad Farischon

West Star is pleased to announce that Chad Farischon, Vice President of Strategic Development, has recently been elected to the NATA (National Air Transportation Association) Board of Directors.

Chad has more than 30 years of aviation operations and business experience. He earned his B.S. degree in Aviation Management from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale and currently holds a private pilot license. Chad is a member of the National Business Aircraft Association, American Association of Airport Executives and serves as Chair of the NATA Airport Business Committee.

“Chad has been a pillar on NATA’s Air Charter and Airport Business committees. Now, with collective industry experience and individual voices on the Board, this will enhance NATA’s collaborative and proactive leadership for our members,” said NATA President and CEO Timothy Obitts. “As the aviation business environment shifts and advances, so must our member guidance and advocacy. We look forward to continuing to benefit from our newest Board members’ knowledge and perspectives, and we thank them for their dedication to advancing the safety and success of the aviation business community,” Obitts continued.

“Chad has been a beneficial addition to the West Star team. His involvement in NATA provides an opportunity for him to give back to our industry while allowing West Star to participate in important industry trends affecting our customers and employees,” stated Jim Rankin, CEO.

“I appreciate the opportunity to be included in such important matters that affect our industry while being able to apply my skills and knowledge to the broad range of industry challenges facing NATA members and our aviation industry, while also representing West Star and providing important feedback,” said Farischon, VP of Strategic Development.

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WSAA will be piloted at the East Alton, IL facility with the first round of apprentices anticipated to start in January 2024. For more information on West Star Aviation employment or WSAA apprentice selection criteria, please visit or contact Katie Johnson ( or Dave Lagermann (

Application & Selection Process

Before applying, please be aware of the standards of conduct for employment with West Star along with the strict requirements below while attending WSAA.

  • Working in Aviation requires a commit to being drug-free.  Pre-employment drug testing along with random and reasonable suspicion testing is required for all companies employing people working in safety sensitive positions. The position you are considering applying for is safety sensitive.  If hired, you must pass a DOT drug test to start working, if you fail the job offer is rescinded.  If you pass, you must remain drug-free during employment, failing a random or reasonable suspicion test may result in termination of employment.  Please note: marijuana is legal in certain states however the FAA follows Federal law where marijuana is illegal.  This means testing positive for marijuana, or any other illegal drug, will prevent you from working in Aviation. 
  • The first 7.5 months will follow a strict schedule: Monday – Friday 7:00am – 3:30pm (breaks and meal periods provided). 
  • The expectation is to arrive inside the learning center and clocked in at 7:00am.
  • While attending WSAA, no more than 4 hours a week can be missed.  Extenuating medical circumstances will be given full consideration with supporting documentation.
  • WSAA follows an FAA approved curriculum which has certain requirements including attendance. 
  • Testing for the FAA license at the conclusion of WSAA is required, along with passing.  Two opportunities to test will be provided, if needed.  Employment may terminate if the FAA license is not obtained.
  • Candidates will be contacted to complete pre-screening assessments and questionnaires. 
  • Qualified candidates will be contacted in late November and scheduled for a tour and interview with Hiring Managers at West Star Aviation in East Alton, IL.
  • To be qualified, candidates must pass the pre-screening process along with submitting a negative DOT drug test result.
  • Finalists will be selected after onsite interviews. Job offers will be extended in mid-December with a start date of January 9, 2024.
  • Pay while learning in the Academy will be $20 per hour.  Upon successfully graduating and obtaining your FAA license, pay will increase to $27 per hour.