About Us

Gulf Coast IFR was formed to foster aviation training in the greater Pensacola area and expand the market for existing flight schools by adding an Advanced Aviation Training Device (AATD) facility to the area's existing flight training infrastructure.

We hope to attract pilots from around the country to come to the Pensacola area for the unique climate and location, which provide great flying weather and fantastic recreation opportunities. And now with the AATD, instrument training can be accomplished at an economical and efficient manner.

      Great weather for primary training.

      Gulf Coast for varied vacation stays and recreation

      World famous white sand beaches.

      Simulator facility and multiple flight schools.

Military Discounts

Gulf Coast IFR offers a courtesy discount to active military personnel. We hope to encourage non-flying personnel, who work with or support flight crews, to see what it's like to fly and maybe earn a Private pilot license.

Educational Discounts

Gulf Coast IFR offers an educational discount to high school and college students  who are not already taking flying lessons. We hope to encourage new student pilots and spur growth in General Aviation by demonstrating to students and their parents how learning to fly is a great way to learn how meteorology, mathematics, geography,  and related subjects are used in aviation - and have an exciting time while using this knowledge to pilot an airplane! 

Manager and Instrument Ground Instructor

Ed Rathje, manager of Gulf Coast IFR, conducts instrument training for pilots in the Elite iGATE 501. Ed started his flying career at Santa Monica Airport in 1965.  He holds Commercial, Instrument, and Instrument Ground Instructor ratings. Ed also has a BS in engineering from Stanford and an MBA in Quantitative Methods from UCLA. He spent a year teaching high school science after 9/11. His technical and teaching background allows him to help his students really understand the principles behind instrument flying.

Ed has been teaching instrument flying on the Elite iGATE 501 since 2005. His past customers include former Top Gun commanders (for currency), state Highway Patrol pilots, private pilots, commercial pilots, and one recent student who is now flying regional jets for a domestic airline.