Lawmakers in Hawaii are laying the groundwork to establish collegiate aviation programs.
Hawaiian lawmakers are supporting legislation that sets the stage for the creation of collegiate aviation programs at the University of Hawaii, Hilo, and Hawaii Community College—with a significant and encouraging new model of increased state support for general aviation education.
A pair of bills backed by AOPA won unanimous approval in various committee votes taken in February. Among other action, AOPA Western Pacific Regional Manager John Pfeifer officially weighed in with letters to legislative leaders supporting House Bill 725 and the related Senate Bill 1221, noting the ongoing decline in the pilot population and the important role that state-aided college aeronautical programs can play in reversing it.
“Fully developed programs of this nature would finally offer young Hawaiians the very best opportunities to pursue successful careers in aviation—as currently afforded to students across the continental United States,” Pfeifer wrote.
Both bills call for unspecified appropriations to hire staff and begin building the programs. The House version and Senate version have both cleared various committee votes with unanimous approvals from every committee.