The following is a continuation of the Publisher's note from the MS&T eNewsletter 2/1/2018
This week’s news contains a piece released in late December but it is worth repeating.
The Air Force Association and Civil Air Patrol have linked to jointly promote flying careers to the next generation of recruits.
Over the past 20 years the allure of being a career pilot, whether military or civilian, was eroded by a growing disassociation the general public has with the military, and to the general bad press, in most cases unwarranted, suffered by the airline industry. Add in the fact that entry to a civilian career in the U.S. is far too expensive for most to consider, then the lack of new pilots is not surprising.
Now, both operations are under severe pressure from a shortage of willing personnel. But evidence shows that a lack of interest in a flying career is not the root cause of the problem. Lack of knowledge, alienation and cost are key issues that provide big barriers to progress.
With airlines in the U.S. now offering sign-on bonuses and first-year salaries that make paying back a loan feasible, some of the biggest barriers to recruiting are being removed. Some U.S. carriers are also beginning to follow the sort of funded student pilot programs practiced across the rest of the world. Add to that further links between professional flying training businesses, the four-year degree university programs and it is more possible for a student to see his or her way into the career. The Air Force also provides an excellent opportunity for those it selects, which is another route to begin a fulfilling and rewarding career.
Perhaps it is now time to marshal the considerable resources of the two communities, defense and airline, with the aircraft manufacturers, training companies, and organizations such as NASA, ESA, APRSAF and others to start a concerted effort to reach into middle and high schools to promote the benefits of a career as a pilot or as member of the global aviation community.
In our own small way, we have been reaching out to students of various ages for the last 5 years (www.wats-event/seca) in both the U.S. and in Asia, and there is no lack of interest, but instead much excitement!
Kudos to the nine airlines providing funding to the National Air and Space Museum, a major inspiration – to kids of all ages!