Tackling the pilot shortage with local flight schools

Pilot Shortage Flight Training
Published: Aug. 7, 2022 at 10:57 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - If you’ve ever dreamed to fly, there’s no better time than now.

Delays, cancellations, and empty flight decks are becoming a harsh reality for travelers hitting the skies. A lack of people available to fly in the airlines has many in the industry concerned. Thousands of pilots are either forced out or choose to leave the industry each year.

According to Precision Flight Training CFI Gary Dixon, the shortage is largely a result of mandatory retirement ages, minimum flight hours for hire, and the Covid-19 pandemic. Accidents have also led to stricter regulations which made many pilots ineligible to work in the airline industry. This problem entered center stage in 2020.

“The airline industry had furloughed a lot of pilots specifically in order to compensate for the lack of interest in air travel due to Covid. When they furloughed some of those pilots a select few decided to retire early,” Precision Flight Training’s Gary Dixon said.

Airports across the country are now feeling the impacts. But one solution may be right here in our backyard. Small training aircraft might just be the key to inspiring the next generation of pilots.

“Exposure. They need to be immersed in aviation, they need to have options to choose aviation as an elective, they need to have field trips out to local airports, they need to see airplanes,” said Dixon.

Despite the doom and gloom, the outlook for the industry is good.

“Because of the pilot shortage the aviation industry is starting to wake up and they’re starting to accommodate these new aspiring pilots,” Dixon said.

Considering the current state of the industry, flight instructors like Dixon are encouraging everyone to take flight.

“The hardest part about getting started is the first leap, is the realization that this is what you wanna do,” said Dixon.

Anybody can learn how to fly an airplane, as long as they can pass a medical examination and are at least fourteen years of age. Mark Brust is a relatively new student at Precision Flight Training. He’s been flying for less than three months but is already well on his way toward achieving his dream of becoming a pilot.

“The first time I took off it was pretty scary but a lot of the things I think are fun and I think are the enjoyable parts of flying now were just terrifying back then,” said Brust.

Aviation can easily become a well-paying career, with many opportunities to move up and travel to new places. The joy of flight is just one of many reasons to get started. Precision Flight Training currently offers discovery flights for anyone interested in learning how to fly. The inexpensive program allows those curious to get up close to the planes, learn the basics of flight, and sit behind the controls of a single-engine airplane alongside a certified flight instructor. You can learn more about getting started by calling the school at (850) 276-5091.

Copyright 2022 WJHG. All rights reserved.