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Addressing the Pilot Shortage: Why NOW is a GREAT Time to Become a Pilot

Most pilots fly because it is their passion. They went through flight training and found their way into the pilot’s seat to fulfill a lifelong dream.

However, while there are still individuals who will continue to pursue becoming a pilot because it is what they have always wanted to do, there are not enough new pilots to fill every seat. 

Amidst a pilot shortage, the aviation industry is in great need of pilots. With the potential for incentives and a push for change, now is a great time to become one. 


The Pilot Shortage 

It is no secret that there is a pilot shortage throughout the United States. Although the threat of this shortage was already looming, when the COVID-19 pandemic began to plague our world, the aviation industry took a huge unexpected hit. Flights were grounded, commercial airliners cut their list of flights and destinations, pilots were either laid off or furloughed, and some of the busiest airports began to see a new normal of less traffic than pre-covid times. 

As we begin to grow out of those pandemic days, many commercial airliners are unable to meet the demand of travelers because they do not have enough pilots to fly the planes. 

Many within the aviation industry continue to come together – even calling on Congress – to make changes. For instance, ideas such as raising the retirement age of a pilot from 65 years to 67 years while reducing the number of flight hours needed for certification have all been considered. Salary incentives have also been discussed due to the demand.

This is all an effort to reduce the crisis. 

Since pilots are needed to do everything from transporting travelers to transporting goods, a deficit in the career field can have a huge impact in many different industries and on many different regions around the country – and the world. 


Pilot Shortage: The Numbers

According to a study released by Boeing, there is a great need for pilots today to reduce the shortage in the long term. 

Over the next 20 years, Boeing’s study estimates that “602,000 new pilots… will be needed to maintain the global commercial fleet.” 

If interested, it is worth noting that the entire aviation industry is impacted, with Boeing shedding light on the lack of 610,000 new maintenance technicians and 899,000 new cabin crew members that will also be needed within the next 20 years. 

This shortage goes well beyond the borders of the U.S. It is seen throughout the world, including Europe, China, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Northeast Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and more. 


The Pilot’s Role and Training

If you are interested in reducing the pilot shortage by undergoing training to fulfill the role, there are a couple of different ways to do this – such as through a university or through a flight training school. Either way, a pilot’s training should include a combination of ground school and flight training. 

Licensing through the FAA is also required, including the issuance of certificates and ratings along the way. Each requires the student to pass a knowledge test and a practical exam. Some of these certificates and ratings may include:

  • Student pilot certificate
  • Private pilot certificate
  • Instrument rating
  • Commercial pilot certificate
  • Multi-engine rating
  • Airline transport pilot certificate

The cost of completing the training to become a pilot can be quite an investment. However, when attending a university, financial aid assistance may be available to those who qualify, such as scholarships, student loans, grants, and so forth. 


Inspiration from Vicky Benzing and CAU

If you have any interest in the world of aviation, then there is a good chance you know of Vicky Benzing. 

As an accomplished pilot, skydiver, aerobatic performer, and air racer, she has over 9500 hours of flight time and over 1300 parachute jumps. It is evident that she loves being in the air. She has competed in aerobatic contests throughout the U.S. and in local air shows. She was dubbed the “fastest woman racer” in Reno’s Air Races history. Benzing has even worked on television shows, films, and documentaries. 

Her resume is long and her skill, passion, and performance inspire future pilots of all ages. This is precisely why we are excited about bringing you some good news. Have you heard? 

Vicky Benzing and CAU have teamed up to inspire the next generation of aviation professionals in the hopes of combating the pilot shortage. This relationship has spanned a few years and it is only growing in depth.

Outreach efforts are being made at air shows and events throughout the United States. This is an attempt to reach the younger hopefuls, showing how possible it is to turn a dream into a reality – and, of course, how rewarding the career of a professional pilot can be. 

Not only is she an accomplished pilot and an advocate in the world of aviation in higher education, but as a female pilot she’s also breaking down barriers and serving as a role model for young girls who want to become professional pilots. 

It is not uncommon for those with an interest in aviation to not know where to turn when it comes to becoming a licensed pilot. After all, there are so many different licensing requirements for flight training schools, colleges, and universities. By using these events and shows as a place for outreach, we are able to reach a broader audience, making the idea of a career in aviation more feasible. 

Together, CAU and Vicky Benzing strive to bridge the gap and reduce the number of open pilot positions. 


Interested in Becoming a Pilot? 

Whether you have always dreamed of becoming a pilot or you are looking to build your future with a solid career path, California Aeronautical University has everything you need to make it a reality. 

Check out our aviation program options and meet with our admissions team so that you can start the application process today. 

Remember, now is a great time to become a pilot. 

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