I first started writing about the upcoming pilot shortage in this post in 2011. Of course, Earl Potter and Steve Rosenstone ‘knew’ better. Potter shut the program and Rosenstone kept it shut. What a pair of idiots.
This article highlights how disastrous their decisions were when it says “Boeing, for example, is estimating that over the next 20 years, North America will need about 117,000 more pilots. With this growing need, colleges and universities are starting to ramp up their aviation programs. Most recently, Rochester Community and Technical College announced they are looking at starting an Aviation Pilot Education Program. If the program is approved, the college says it will be designed for students to get an associate’s degree in aviation and then transfer to Minnesota State University, Mankato to finish their bachelor’s degree.”
Minnesota doesn’t need another aviation program. It needs at least 2 more aviation programs at the universities. In addition to training pilots, there’s room for training drone operators and aerial fire rescue programs. Let’s not forget that we’ll need air traffic controllers, too.
Wright Aero is the only flight school in Central Minnesota and a former partner to the SCSU aviation program. Bill Mavencamp is the owner of Wright Aero. He says they currently have four flight instructors, about 10 less than they had at their peak in 2009.
“You can see what we’ve gone down to, it’s going to be difficult to build back up with the lack of new pilots in the industry. Especially new local pilots, it’s difficult to talk to a new flight instructor, who lives in Florida, to move to Minnesota.”
Dave Kleis has campaigned for a regional airline here in St. Cloud. What airline is stupid enough to move here when there’s such a half-hearted effort to maintain their workforce? We can now see that answer — none.