Oklahoma Could Help Relieve Nationwide Pilot Shortage

Wednesday, November 13th 2019, 10:18 am
By: News 9

An Air Force Lieutenant General thinks the Oklahoma City Metro can help relieve a nationwide shortage of people who are interested in being pilots. 

A report from Boeing says North America will need more than 200 thousand new pilots in the next 20 years, but there aren't many people interested in the job. 

According to the FAA, the nationwide pilot shortage has been a problem for decades. With a mandatory retirement age of 65, the rising age of pilots is only becoming more of a problem. 

Retired Lieutenant General Donald Wetekam spent more than 30 years in the Air Force. He says that Oklahoma could help turn the tides in the future.

Aerospace is Oklahoma's second largest industry, and there are facilities that can bring in more young people. This includes places like Tinker Air Force Base and the FAA's Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center.

"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, it 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," Wetekam says.

In the future, Wetekam hopes interest in the aviation industry will turn around, as interest in space travel starts to rise in the next few decades.