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 Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) has awarded its third annual Flight Training Excellence Awards to top flight schools and flight instructors ranked by more than 3,600 flight students who voluntarily reviewed their flight training experience through an AOPA online poll.
For decades, pilots have headed to Bay Bridge Airport in the Chesapeake Bay for scenic coastal flying and great seafood. Check it out after attending the AOPA Homecoming Fly-In on Oct. 4.
Maintenance experts have asked the FAA to clarify whether recurring inspections of Cessna 210-series aircraft can be mandated without following required rulemaking procedures.
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