Critical Careers: Pilot Shortage Crisis

Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 10:41 PM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) –It’s a turbulent time for the airline industry. There is a serious global shortage of airline pilots, and it’s impacting us all.

If you traveled this summer and experienced flight delays or cancellations, there’s a good chance it could have been because of a pilot shortage. It impacts beyond just those of us who travel by air. About $6.8 trillion dollars worth of goods is transported by air cargo every year, everything from urgent medical materials, to perishable foods and other goods.

Andrew Hegland had his sights on an entirely different career. But then in 2019, he began to fly. He completed his RCTC Aviation Pilot Program in February of 2020, and now, he’s one of the program instructors. Pilots must have 15-hundred hours of flight time and significant training. Andrew went through RCTC’s immersive program, getting industry knowledge with ground school classes. And then, taking to the skies with RCTC’s partner, Great Planes Aviation in Rochester.

Great Planes gets students off the ground with one-on-one flight lessons at its innovative facility including its own commercial pilot flight lab.

Kess Klouser is also an RCTC and Great Planes graduate. “This is a way for students to new to flight training to get comfortable with procedures in the plane,” she says. We went for a short, virtual flight over Rochester. She trusted me enough to take the controls, and I didn’t do too much damage.

Kess is filling a major gap in the airline industry. It projects worldwide it’ll need 804,000 new civil aviation pilots, 769,000 new maintenance technicians and 914,000 new cabin crew to fly and maintain the fleet during the next 20 years.

Learn more about the RCTC Aviation Pilot Program and Great Planes Aviation in Rochester.