Generally the summer months for most pilot education institutions and collegiate programs are quiet, which makes it a great time to test out some new initiatives to spur our youth’s interest in pilot education. According to Boeing we (the flight training industry) is going to have to add 64 pilots per day to the aviation industry for the next 20 years in order to keep up with attrition, retirements, and growth. Right now at the industries current capacity, we can only provide 43 pilots per day to the marketplace if we had a full supply of students in our pilot education programs. Today we are not meeting that target.
For too long, we have relied on the “passion of aviation” to supply us with students to train. Unfortunately, relying on a self-evoked emotion is not an efficient way to attract the growing number of students needed to meet future pilot demand. That is why organizations like Calhoun County Airport and The Coachella Valley Youth Aviation Education Program are getting involved. They have started to host summer camps and aviation days focused on introducing students to the world of flight in a range of capacities. These organizations are setting up programs to give kids in middle school and high school a taste of what it is like to go through an institutional or collegiate pilot education program.
The benefits of running these types of programs are obvious. You are helping expose our youth to aviation, you are helping create supply for the looming pilot shortage, and you're marketing your business to the local community. Think of it this way. Calhoun Air Center was able to introduce 1,250 students to the careers available to them in aviation. If we all did our part and got involved in the future of our youth, we could expose over 680,000 kids to aviation in one year!
Let us know if you have already held aviation days and summer camps for students. We would love to hear about and share your story!