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General Aviation: An Education in Itself

Investing in its Future, Scholarships Abound in General Aviation

Dave Higdon   |   8th July 2016
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Dave Higdon Dave Higdon

Dave Higdon writes about aviation from his base in Wichita Kansas. During three decades in...
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One of the aviation community's hardest tasks involves filling the many jobs available each year, notes Dave Higdon. That task became a little tougher when the Federal Aviation Administration (by order of Congress) raised the time required to act as a First Officer to 1,500 hours from 250…

At the same time as First Officer time-requirements are being raised, my contacts in the avionics community face the daunting task of finding qualified personnel to fill shop jobs in a field that's advancing faster than any other aspect of aviation.

Thankfully, the community’s associations actively work to help as many people as possible to learn the skills needed to fill the jobs of today and tomorrow. Scholarship support for students and trainees this year looks to break the $1m mark. It's another excellent example of how people in aviation strive to support the needs of the community.

While certainly not the only industry to undertake efforts to fill their own ranks with well-trained, highly qualified staff, the aviation community's efforts must rate near the top of the stack. The way in which the Business Aviation community contributes to its own future is a pleasant contrast viewed against the newly graduated medical doctors trying to enter practice after ratcheting up an average $185,000 in med-school debt.

Incredible Support

Early this week Women in Aviation International (WAI) announced the launch of its 2017 scholarship program. Up for grabs are nearly 100 scholarships cumulatively worth almost $500,000. Better still, the group expects the total to exceed $600,000 by the time WAI holds its annual convention at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort in March next year

This will provide support for recipients to earn type ratings in various airliners, as well as training in maintenance, avionics and more. The diversity of the recipients and the training they can gain is truly dizzying.

Meanwhile, National Business Aviation Association offers a wide range of scholarships for training. In early June the association awarded scholarships to 33 women and men training for jobs as flight attendants and flight technicians. NBAA offers a vast variety of training support for both new entrants and veteran staffers already working in the field.

The Aircraft Electronics Association also has a vast array of scholarships - as does the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and the Experimental Aircraft Association. EAA even helped launch an aviation high school that’s part of Lakeland, Florida's public-school system, and is producing future pilots and tomorrow's technicians.

There are myriad training and education opportunities through internships offered by aviation organizations and companies - far more than this blog space can accommodate!

No question, aviation faces many challenges just filling the jobs available today and in the future. Business (and General) Aviation is fortunate to have so many top-drawer organizations aware of its professional needs, working actively to fill the various jobs with well-trained, skilled and motivated professionals who are where they want to be…


Read more about: Pilot Training | Aviation Scholarships | Business Aviation Professionals

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