Friday, March 8th, 2024

What if more people had wings?

I believe it is important to make sure that the freedom of travel and the pioneering American spirit that is embodied by general aviation and personal flying is saved for future generations. Since starting to send these emails a little over a year ago, my goal has been to stimulate thoughts and a conversation around the business of flight training.
When I started learning to fly there was a lot of concern and articles about the shrinking pilot population and how general aviation was dying. Today the buzz is about the pilot shortage in the airline industry, and the related shortages (and costs) of instructors and airplanes. But what does a growing number of certificated pilots who fly for the airlines mean for general aviation?
For instance:
Will the pilots being trained to meet the needs of the airlines continue to fly general aviation aircraft after they start their professional careers?
If the number of general aviation pilots continues to shrink, while commercial aviation grows to meet demand, what happens to general aviation’s infrastructure, its airports, maintenance facilities, and the battle for user fees?
How has COVID influenced people’s thoughts about private flying?
If we attract more people to personal aviation and start growing the population of general aviation pilots, what does that do to the cost of maintenance, hangars, and aircraft in the short term? And in time the long term?

I am determined to make sure that our kids and grandkids will be able to enjoy the same freedom to fly that we grew up with and cherish, and I believe that flight schools like yours play a key role in making that happen. In this time of increased pilot demand and training, let’s not lose sight of the general aviation pilots who choose to fly for personal reasons.