4 Piedmont I ! Commuter partners give Captain Danny Williford (center), man ager of the F28 training center in Thmpa. talks with captains Robby Byrd. ATL. and Dave Stevens, a check airman for the F28. More than 40 Piedmont pilots have now received training at our F28 training center in Tkmpa since Piedmont took over the center October 1. In addition, many other airlines have used the state-of- the-art simulator for flight training. "We're already exceeding our expectations." Captain C.D. McLean, staff vice president-flight training, said. “We haven't missed any flying time since taking over October 1, and everything’s in place and running well. We're currently converting the simulator to our F28 configuration and expect to complete this project early next year, and we have already been approved by the FAA for Category II approaches. "The first ground school for recurrent training will begin in early January and the first initial class will begin a week later," he added. The new training center is located at 5125 Tkmpa West Boulevard, just a short distance from the Tkmpa International Airport. Tbm Kezar. a simulator engi neer at the Thmpa center, updates a soft ware program for the F28 simulator. After January 15, there'll be an even better chance that each time someone in Florida looks up to see what plane is flying overhead, they'll see the Piedmont name painted on it. TVans Air and Southern Express, both Florida based, are the latest commuter air lines to enter a joint marketing agreement with Piedmont. “Geography would explain the why and synergy would explain the how of our newest commuter arrangement," Sheri Folger—vice president commuter and interline development, said. “Although we don't have a cen tral hub to tie these commuters into our Florida network, we have been looking for feed traffic in non jet markets on both the east and west coasts of the state. TVans Air, based in Miami, will serve non-jet markets on the east coast and Southern Express, based in Tkmpa, will cover additional markets for us on the west coast. “The word synergy best describes the operation because it means separate forces feeding off each other to have a greater effect on the whole,” Folger explained. “Our new joint marketing arrangement in Florida will tie-in commuter destinations with the 96 daily intrastate jet flights and the 43 interstate jet flights we will have in Florida by January—thus expanding Piedmont’s identity in the state even further." And, good news for island hop pers—as a result of this latest addition to the Piedmont com muter family, the Caribbean will now be included in the destina tions that see the Piedmont blue, TVans Air flies to Nassau, Freeport, North Eleuthera, Ti-easure Cay and George Town in the Bahamas. The new Florida destinations in Pied mont's Commuter System will be Sarasota, Ft. Myers, Melbourne, and Marathon. Southern Express operates a fleet of five 19-passenger Embraer Bandeirantes and nine 8-passenger Piper Navajo Chieftans. TVans Air’s fleet includes 28 nine-passenger Cessna 402Cs, four 19-passenger Bandeirantes, and three 23- passenger CASA-212-300s. James promoted To vp-planning Dick James, a Piedmont employee for 20 years, has been appointed vice president-planning of Piedmont Aviation Inc. "Mr. James has played a key role in the development of Piedmont’s strat egy and fleet planning in the turbu lent years since the commercial aviation industry was deregulated in 1978," Bill Howard, president and chief executive officer, said in announcing James' appointment. James is responsible for the Com pany’s strategy, its route expansion program and fleet planning. James joined Piedmont in 1965 as a station agent and was brought into the Route Development Department as an analyst in 1968. He advanced to senior analyst, manager-route devel opment, manager-research, director- route development, and director of planning before being promoted to staff vice president-corporate planning in 1981. James holds a B.S. degree in busi ness management and economics from High Point College. Piedmont has been named the best U.S. airline by a travel writer who publishes a monthly newsletter he describes as "a connoisseur’s guide to peaceful and unspoiled places.” Andrew Harper, author of "Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report,” rated Piedmont the best of 13 airlines that received “a significant number of mentions” among more than 2,400 voluntary reports submitted by readers over a nine-month period. With 40 positive and 11 negative com ments, Piedmont had the highest pro portion of positive responses of the airlines mentioned. The top four airlines following Pied mont are Delta, Western, Northwest, and People Express. Piedmont also placed sixth, the highest-ranked U.S. airline. In a simi lar survey that included U.S. and for eign carriers. Singapore Airlines ranked first followed by Quantas Air ways, Japan Air Lines, Air New Zea land, and British Airways.