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.
Collaboration between the German government, academia, and airplane manufacturers may make future aircraft cabins more protective of pilots and passengers. The Safety Box team plans to apply auto racing technology to general aviation.
A father and his 14-year-old son were helping another pilot ferry a newly purchased aircraft from California to their home field in Virginia. The three made an overnight stop in Albuquerque before flying on to Illinois for fuel. But shortly after they parked the aircraft in Marion, Ill., they were approached by as many as 18 uniformed and non-uniformed law enforcement officers who came running toward the airplane.
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