Oklahoma Could Help Solve Growing Pilot Shortage

Wednesday, November 13th 2019, 8:13 am
By: Shannon Rousseau

There's a growing need for pilots in North America; but right now, there's a shortage of people who actually want the job.

Boeing's released a report that said North America will need more than 200,000 new pilots within the next 20 years.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, a nationwide pilot shortage has been a problem for decades.

The FAA has a mandatory retirement age of 65 and, as current pilots continue to get older, that becomes more of a problem.

However, retired Lieutenant General Donald Wetekam--who spent more than 30 years in the Air Force--said Oklahoma could help solve the problem. Aerospace is the state's second largest industry, and we have the facilities that can bring in young people.

"The Monroney Center, it is the global training center of expertise in the FAA; a lot of people don't know that. Likewise, Tinker Air Force Base is the largest military aviation depot in the world. We need to do a better job of getting the word out and attracting people to visit those locations" said Wetekam. 

Wetekam hopes interest in the aviation industry will turn around as interest in space travel starts to go up in the next few decades.