March 15, 2010
By Ian J. Twombly
The FAA’s 20-year forecast issued last week predicts a decreasing amount of student pilots in the short-term, followed by very slow growth in the mid- and long-term.
It is estimated that slightly more than 72,000 student pilots were registered with the FAA in 2009, down from almost 81,000 a year before. According to the forecast, the number won’t again reach 2009 levels until 2013; next year is expected to be the worst with the forecast bottoming out at roughly 69,000 student certificates.
The flight training industry has been struggling since Sept. 11, 2001. In fact, student certificates aren’t expected to reach the year 2000’s historical high of more than 93,000 for the entire forecast period.
The one bright spot in the forecast is light sport aircraft pilot certificates, which the FAA expects to increase at a rate of more than 7 percent for the forecast period, and more than 25 percent over the short-term.
Flight Training Editor Ian J. Twombly joined AOPA in 2003 and is an instrument flight instructor.
The Flying Physicians Association (FPA) has become the latest group to lend support to third-class medical reform and urge government officials to speed up their review of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). The NPRM would expand the number of pilots who could fly without needing to obtain a third-class medical certificate, a standard that has been successfully used by sport pilots for a decade.
California pilot Christopher Braun has created a revamped version of the cleco plier that is said to be lighter and more ergonomic.
There is no shortage of pilots in eastern Washington, but there does seem to be a scarcity of clubs in that part of the country.
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