HENDERSON (KTNV) — Flying frustration is really high these days, and it boils down to one main problem. Not enough pilots to fly the planes! But you can fix that and all those people stuck in airports will thank you.
13 Action News anchor Tricia Kean shows this is prime time to consider becoming a pilot.
PURSUING A DREAM
"I've been wanting to fly since I was 15 years old," says Blanca Varela.
Blanca is pursuing a dream. The Air Force veteran recently enrolled in flight school at All In Aviation in Henderson.
"Right now I'm working on my private pilot license and my goal is to eventually work for a commercial airline," says Blanca.
It turns out, this is the best opportunity in years for anyone pursuing a dream of working in the aviation industry.
"Across the country and across the world essentially, the airlines are in need of pilots," says Carl May, Director of Flight Operations at All In Aviation.
He says enrollment for their flight training program is up and the timing couldn't be better.
"Because by the time they get to the point where they can go onto the airlines, they're going to be in a good position to move on," says May.
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association agrees.
"If there was a time to look at aviation as a career opportunity, now is it. The number of aviation jobs out there, whether it's a pilot, technician, crew member, support, it's just phenomenal," says Erik Yates, Director of Curriculum Development for the AOPA Foundation.
He says even before the pandemic, airlines were facing a pilot shortage as many reached retirement age.
20 YEAR SHORTAGE
"Boeing did a study and one of the things they discovered is that there's likely to be a shortage and just in North America alone over 560,000 pilots and technicians," says Yates.
It's a shortage that's expected to stretch over the next 20 years.
To help find new pilots, Yates says the AOPA Foundation is providing free aviation curriculum to high schools. Innovations International Charter School right here in Las Vegas is among the 300 schools across 44 states, using the curriculum.
"The earlier we can interest people in aviation the better," says Yates.
MORE FEMALE INTEREST
Yates says the demographics are exciting to see.
Four times as many female students are now learning about aviation in high school, compared to the number of women actually working in the industry. And four times as many minority students are learning, compared to those minorities in the industry.
New scholarships are also helping encourage students to pursue a career in aviation.
"We've got a scholarship program and so many aviation organizations now are trying to entice young people and adults even to get into the aviation industry. There are many many scholarships out there for people to pursue their passion," says Yates.
All In Aviation also works with its students here in the valley.
"There's opportunities out there. Pay as you go, financing, there's avenues... I would say it's very comparable to college," says May.
STOP AT NOTHING
As for Blanca, while cost is an important factor, she's focused on the ultimate goal.
"It's a dream and I'm willing to stop at nothing," says Blanca.