Score one for innovation against the declining pilot population
I have to say I am impressed by all the ideas being brought to bear on the “war against the declining pilot population.” Some of the ideas are brand new and some are recycled from the past. A couple of these are pretty clever.
Open Airplane provides industry endorsed standards for pilot check-outs that transfer to affiliated rental facilities so if you are a C-152 driver in Iowa you can rent one in San Fran with no cumbersome and expensive checkout.
Access Aviation Project is building and franchising pilot learning communities (think flight school, but more) – probably an overly simplistic description.
AOPA’s Center for the Advancement of the Pilot Community. Flying clubs and all manner of activities to support getting new aviators.
EAA Eagles program is a natural permeation of the Young Eagles program that was limited to fly anyone between the ages of 8 and 17; now anyone can get a ride under the EAA banner using their successful program.
If you know of a program that I didn’t list, please throw it in the comments below.
Will these ideas reverse the trend completely? No. There was a confluence of things that occurred that pumped thousands of pilots into our industry that just aren’t there anymore. It’s a completely different time, with a different demographic than what existed post-WWII until now. As a group we will shrink, but we can’t do nothing.
I have high hopes for our success. Call me an optimist, but I feel like our increased connectedness with the Internet and social media will help offset the global economic issues. Also this focus has really put a spotlight on the costs, so hopefully some additional creativeness will help solve, or at least mitigate, that side of it. Can you say electric flight?
I’m a believer that ingenuity will get us through this, heck that’s been the hallmark of our industry since 1903.
images from AOPA.org