Combating pilot shortage, inside look into what it takes to become airline pilot

Combating pilot shortage, inside look into what it takes to become airline pilot

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The commercial aviation industry will need more than 600,000 new pilots over the next 20 years according to a recent forecast by aircraft maker Boeing. It’s an industry that has been through a lot of turmoil in recent years.

Multiple places in Las Vegas are looking to combat the challenge facing the industry.

Ron Kelly and his company Las Vegas Flight Academy help train pilots and he said multiple factors are playing into the shortage. The first one is a large number of retirements all at once, the second is the skyrocketing demand for air travel and the third is other countries also flying every day.

He is now on a mission to inspire the next generation to take to the skies through his foundation.

“We’re going into the inner cities to bring more women and minorities into aviation and the number one thing I get from them is that they don’t even know this is a possibility for them,” he said.

Airlines like Las Vegas-based Allegiant are also creating pathways for people to become pilots. They recently launched an Accelerate Pilot Pathway program.

“Partnerships with four-year universities that have 141 flight schools. We have a great partnership with Spartan it’s what’s called a Zero to Hero program which will take you from no flight experience all the way to commercial,” Vice President of Flight Crew Operations at Allegiant, Tyler Hollingsworth explained. “It does come with long hours and it’s intensive training. It’s not just one and done, it’s throughout your entire career it’s a skill set you hone over and over again and there’s a medical component to it.”

It takes about a year to get the certificates and ratings and then applicants need to get up to 1,500 hours before they can take the controls of an airliner.

Flight school and aircraft rental company, All in Aviation are hosting an open house on May 4 at the Henderson Executive Airport to showcase STEM careers in aviation. There is a need across all areas of aviation.  

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