Every pilot I know… every aviation organization… every aviation government official… all acknowledge the same requirement for the future of aviation. We need more younger people entering this activity that we current pilots enjoy so much. I feel sure you agree.
However, despite the efforts of many smart people over many decades, the number of younger folks in aviation is smaller than we might like.
Now, let’s be clear. This is not an epic failure. We do have younger pilots involved today. Do you doubt this statement? If so, you are not alone but you may be wrong.
Consider this part of an article I published earlier: “Most pilots I know think the pilot population is graying quickly and that we may be in danger of running out of pilots. [The statistics on American aviators] say otherwise. The biggest single category may be [the one] you expect with those aged 50-64 counting 179,277 pilots. …but the surprising second-largest segment is close behind. Those aged a young 20-35 years old number 173,396 pilots. The 35-50 cohort is much smaller, perhaps as they are busy raising families and paying for mortgages and college educations for their kids.”
Let me repeat for emphasis. The second-largest group of pilots in an age range (20-35 years old) is almost as large as the one we think dominates (50-64 years old). Notice that each group contains pilots from a similar age range (15 years).
Even if you accept those figures, it remains true that we need more young pilots.
EAA Young Eagles program has been an unqualified success, flying more than two million youngsters. Great job, EAA! The bad news? Not very many of those two million kids has entered aviation.
So even with aviation’s best and brightest minds working on the problem, not many kids are learning to fly and making aviation their passion or their job. The airlines are certainly concerned and so are many current pilots, myself included.
Room for Another Solution
One man is working to change the “youth problem” in his own unique way. You may already know him from his days directing the Aviators Hot Line enterprise and its Light Aviation division. His name is Jacob Peed and following are his words about his newest project, which I am pleased to support.
Jacob wrote, “All too often these days you see companies and organizations with no plan for the future. There is no thought to what happens down the road. Industries can also suffer the same fate as businesses when they fail to appeal to youth or attempt to solicit the next wave of young people to continue to grow their industry.
“AviNation is about the future. It’s about the next generation of aviation advocates, professionals, educators and innovators. AviNation Magazine is here to generate excitement and interest in aviation.
“I have been involved in both the publishing industry and aviation industry in one way or another for my entire life. I’ve seen how publications can truly impact and help industries thrive. AviNation Magazine is the right magazine at the right time.
“AviNation is published four times a year and is distributed to FBOs, universities and trade events throughout the country, connecting advertisers and contributors with industry professionals, enthusiasts and of course, those that will continue to push the industry forward.
“AviNation, a special opportunity for a special industry.”
In case you hadn’t figured it out, AviNation is a publication whose sole purpose is to work the levers needed to bring more young people into aviation. It is not some aviation magazine or website with overly-technical, jargon-riddled articles about the equipment on aircraft or the details of earning an instrument rating. Its purpose is to reach and inform younger Americans in the hope of bringing them into aviation.
I think this is a very worthy goal and I hope you will join me in supporting Jacob Peed and his AviNation. We need the charge he has chosen to lead!