Pilot shortage looms in near future


Christopher Jones

Junior Christopher Jones has been passionate about aviation since the age of 11.

At any given time there are about 700,000 people flying on airplanes in the sky. Most don’t give any thought to this method of travel except as getting from point A to point B with as little hassle as possible, which is difficult to find today.The general public is unaware that there is a massive pilot shortage looming in the near future, and if something is not done to hire more pilots, there will be mass cancellations and delays across the country.

The Federal Aviation Administration mandates that pilots who fly for an airline need to retire at age sixty-five. Delta Airlines has reported that over the next few years, half of their 12,000 pilots will be required to retire. This is where I step in.

I first became interested in flying when I was around 11 years old; always excited for a trip and getting to go to the airport and fly on a plane. Everything about travel intrigued me, and it wasn’t until I was about 13 or 14 that I really took a strong interest in the piloting side of aviation.

I had no idea where my interest would take me. There was a wide scale of knowledge I would need to learn to memorize and be able to recite without hesitation in order to pass my license test. At this point, I had to decide if it was really worth it. It was around this time that spring break of my freshman year came up. I was traveling to the islands of St. Kitts and Nevis with my brother and my mom, and I decided that by the end of that month, I wanted to make a decision; do I pursue a pilot career or not. My answer came in a form I did not expect at all: a simple sunrise. Our flight left MSP at around 6 a.m. As we were cruising somewhere over Iowa the sun came up off the left wing of the airplane; that sunrise was enough for me to make my decision. I was going to pursue a career as a pilot.

After I got back and started doing the necessary research, I learned all the requirements I had to meet to become a pilot. The research took almost all of the end of freshman year and most of the summer when I flew my first airplane. The trip to this point was no easy one; it required many hours of studying everything from the in-air maneuvers to where what switch is. There was no hiding the fact that I was scared; but by the time we came back to the runway and landed, I knew I had made the correct decision in becoming a pilot.

There are a lot of common misconceptions about flying: one being that most people think that the flying piece is the worst part, but it’s actually the easiest. Flying itself it not hard at all, left to go left, right to go right etc. The hard part is learning all the regulations and laws that pertain to flying in the United States. The book of regulations alone weighs about five pounds; most of the rules need to be committed to memory as they are crucial to the legality of any given flight.

To me, the allure of flying is being able to get places faster, while having an amazing view the whole way there. It doesn’t matter if I am flying to my cabin up north or all the way to Chicago; the view is always amazing. With the upcoming pilot shortage, times have never been better to become a pilot since so many will be needed in the next 10 years. With 6,000 jobs opening up at one airline alone the sky really isn’t limiting anyone.